Sunday, November 3, 2013

Garlic Chives

garlic chives, coming back to life in early april
Garlic Chives have become the most prolific herb in my garden. A few years ago, we purchased 2 tiny little plants. By the end of the first year, they were huge clumps. By the end of the third year, we are weeding them out of all the herbs and even other garden beds and cracks in the sidewalk. Garlic chives differ from "regular" chives in that they are flat like a blade of grass whereas chives are round and hollow in the center. Garlic chives also have an unmistakably pungent garlic aroma. They are traditionally cooked, rather than used merely as garnish, in Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes.

Due to their conquering nature, I have taken to plucking off all the buds before they flower in mid summer so that they will not spread seeds everywhere. (Now, it should be stated that I do love garlic chives. We just shouldnt be growing them in a bed with other herbs. They need their own little zone to fill up. The flowers are long lasting, beautiful and attract benefecial pollinators. You should grow them. I will give u some!)

At first I was just eating the buds. They are very intense compared to the rest of the plant. Not quite as strong as a clove of garlic but pretty close. So I started picking bagfuls every couple weeks and bringing them home. I put them in a jar with vinegar and shook them up every day, to fully infuse the vinegar and to ensure none were floating, exposed to air for to long. Vinegar creates an acidic environment so as long as air exposure is limited, it is fairly safe for infusions, like alcohol. There isnt really a recipe, but all vinegar infusions are as simple as this. Put anything in a jar, cover it up, shake it everyday for a week or a few months, taste occasionally if you want, strain and enjoy! I had to switch to a bigger jar because there kept being more and more. I let them sit for almost 2 months all in all. Which is probably a little extreme. A week is probably enough to flavor a vinegar. It smells really garlicky now. I forgot/ was lazy/ procrastinated for a while. I will probably use it as a base for my habanero hot sauce or just as a garnish for greens or for dumpling dipping sauce with honey and soy sauce.

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