One of the most versatile herbs in the kitchen, chives are commonly used to season soups, flavor sauces, and as a garnish for cheese dishes.
There’s only one problem with chives—they lose their freshness after only about a week. If you want to enjoy the taste of chives at other times that fall or winter, you can preserve them by drying them.
Ways of Preserving Chives
There are two basic ways to preserve chives: freezing and drying.
Freezing chives is the obvious and common solution. It does preserve them. But freezing chives takes away their flavor.
There are several methods for drying chives. The most basic method is to hang them on a wooden drying rack. This is the most common method and the easiest. Drying chives this way is fast and easy.
For dried chives, you can chop them, put them in a storage jar, and label them. Dried chives will keep for months in a cool, dry place. You can also freeze chives. This takes more work because you first need to chop the chives and pack them in a paper towel.
How to Dry Chives? 3 Steps
If you want to preserve your harvest for later use, here’s how to dry them:
- Trim off the root end and discard any wilted or damaged leaves; wash the stems under running water, and pat dry with paper towels
- Cut about 2 inches off of each stem (including leaves) and discard the rest
- Layout the trimmed chives stem side up on a wire rack or metal mesh screen
The first step in drying chives is to protect them from rain and snow. After picking, put them in a plastic bag and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place (a basement or a shed, for example). Room temperature will keep them for about a week.
The next step is to cut off the lower leaves. To do this without separating the bulbs, cut off the bottom part, leaving about 1/4 inch of the root intact. Then cut the leaves off from the bulbs, leaving about 1/4 inch of the root intact.
The bulbs should then be split lengthwise; if you’re planning to cook with them, leave most of the skin on, but if you’re only planning to store them, scrape the skin off.
At this point, the bulbs can be dried either flat or upright. To dry upright, lay them on a flat surface, cut side down, and trim away dead leaves. Once dried, you can store them upright or lay them flat. For further drying, you might want to spread them out on screens (or nylon stockings).
To dry flat, lay them flat on a screen or nylon stocking. If dirt remains, scrape it off with a knife. Once dried, the bulbs can be stored vertically or horizontally.
The dried bulbs can then be stored indefinitely.
Where do we use chives?
- As a garnish for butter dishes
- In potato dishes and soups
- We use them on sandwiches and in mashed potatoes
- They are great at making mashed potatoes more exciting
- In meat and vegetable sauces and stews