Chives are the smallest species of the onion family, but unlike onions, their flavor is not in the bulb; instead it’s in the leaves. One thing I really like about chives is that they allow you to easily add the flavor of an onion to a dish without any of its bite. In this recipe from Easy Growing (Clarkson Potter, February 2012), Gayla Trail captures the mild chive flavor of the purple chive blossoms (which are a short-term crop that come and go in the spring before you can bat an eyelash — so act quickly!) in a good-quality vinegar. We think this is the perfect way to enjoy chives well past their season.
Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe from Easy Growing by Gayla Trail:
Makes 1 cup
1 cup chive blossoms
1 cup white wine or white Vinegar
1. Harvest the chive blossoms in the spring just after they open. To prepare the chive blossoms, snip off the stems and gently jostle them in a bowl of cool water to remove all dirt and debris. Pile the wet blossoms into the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel, pull up all of the corners to create a sack, and shake vigorously until the blossoms are dry.
2. Stuff a clean pint-sized Mason jar with the clean blossoms.
3. In a small saucepan, gently warm the vinegar over medium-low heat. Do not bring to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the blossoms, making sure to submerge them completely.
4. Once the liquid has cooled, cover the jar with a lid made of nonreactive material such as glass. Alternatively, protect a metal canning lid by first placing a square of waxed paper between the jar and the lid.
5. Store in a cool, dark cupboard for a week or two and strain into a second, clean or sterilized jar when the vinegar suits your taste buds.
Frankly, all herbal vinegars are delicious—experiment with several edible flowers, leaves, and seeds and keep a medley of flavors on hand.