Herbs are amazing, aren’t they? They give that distinctive taste to our meals, and one of the most commonly used ones is chives. This herb is often used in salads, and although it is almost always used fresh, there are still a couple of tricks I will show you on how to preserve them.
Therefore, here’s how to harvest chives, and what you can do with those leaves after. As always, our story begins a bit earlier. Let’s get to it, shall we?
When To Harvest?
There are two answers to this question, and the answers depend on WHERE you are growing your herbs. For example, those which are based outside can be picked at regular intervals, while those growing in pots can be used throughout the year.
Because of that, it is my preference to have a bit larger container, with a few plants placed inside, to boost the growth during the year. If winters are cold in your area, I suggest you transfer your chives indoors anyway.
Now, there is no particular time of the year when chives can be harvested. Instead, take a look at the leaves. Once they seem long and have grown enough, you can proceed. Of course, to keep it as productive as possible, once the flower stem develops, cut it off.
What Will Be Required For Harvesting?
Of all other herbs, chives are the easiest one to collect. You will need only one tool, and you have it in your kitchen. Sharp scissors are all you will need.
Of course, you can pluck the leaves by hand, but this is something you have to avoid. The leaves are soft, and if you don’t cut them clean, there is a high possibility of the plant catching a disease, or growing improperly after harvesting.
And, as I said, it is best to have several plants growing, so you can harvest them one at a time. This is far better than collecting from one more often.
How To Do So?
Well, depending on the amount of chives you need, there are several approaches, so choose the one which suits you the best.
In case that you need just a few leaves, take the scissors and cut the amount you need from the outer area of the plant. These are the eldest and will be ready first. On the other hand, if you wish to take all at once, gather the entire volume of the leaves, and cut them 1-2” above ground.
It doesn’t matter how much of the leaves you are cutting, just see that cuts are clean and flat. If you notice that scissors are tearing and gnawing more than cutting, replace them, and take sharper ones.
My preference is to avoid garden shears since those are too rough and will cause a lot of damage. I wanted my plants to continue growing, and therefore I can advise the same to you.
How To Store Chives?
In general, there are several approaches to this problem. Again, depending on your preference, and the preserving time, you can do one of the following.
By putting freshly cut leaves into the glass or jar with water and placing it in the fridge, you will maintain freshness for about a few days. Anything longer is not guaranteed, and if you have too many cuttings, consider one of the following ways.
If you cut chives into smaller bits, you can fill a ziplock bag, remove air from it, seal and toss it into the freezer. Of course, some scent will be lost, but it will last for several months without an issue.
You can dry chives as well, but it will lose so much of its taste, that you can pass on doing so.
However, if you are determined to try, spread the leaves on a cool and drafty space for about a week. After that, you can crush them and store in an airtight container.
So, here we are. I hope that by showing you how to harvest chives (and a bit more), I’ve managed to give you a good reason to include it in your meals. Since it has an amazing taste, I believe that this will be a pleasant surprise.
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