What Are Chives?
Chives are one of those common recipe ingredients you hear about all of the time. However, only a seasoned cook probably even knows what they are. This is because they’re often confused with some of their counterparts, such as leeks and green onions. So, what is a chive?
Think of chives as the slimmer (and even greener) version of their cousin, the onion. They’re from the garlic, leeks, and onion family. This makes them the perfect ingredient to bring a bland recipe up a few notches so that you can give it the burst of flavor it needs.
Chives vs. Green Onions
People often wonder, “Are chives green onions?” Because they are so closely related, this is a common misconception. However, there are some notable differences between them.
- Taste: Fresh chives have a milder flavor than onions. Therefore, they don’t overpower a recipe. Instead, they complement it.
- Looks: Chives are long-stemmed and green, while most common onions are more of a bulbous shape. Green onions are the only exception, and while chives do resemble green onions, they’re actually much smaller. Don’t let their looks fool you, though. They’re still not the same thing.
- Peelings: Chives do not have an outer skin, whereas most onions are known for their outer layers.
Next time someone asks, “Are green onions chives?” You’ll know how to answer. You’ll never have to be intimidated by the “chives green onion” or “onion chives” debate ever again.
Chopped chives provide you and your family some nutritional benefits. This is because a “chive vegetable” is a real thing. Chives are actually a part of the vegetable family. They’re considered a nutrient-dense food because they have a low amount of calories, yet a high amount of vitamins and antioxidants.
Think of it this way. One serving of chives provides 3% of the daily value of both vitamins A and C. Don’t take our word for it, though. Here is a more in-depth look at the nutrition facts of fresh chives, per 1 tbsp chopped.
- Calories: 1
- Total Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 0mg
- Potassium: 9mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 0.1g
- Dietary Fiber: 0.1g
- Protein: 0.1g
- Vitamin A: 2%
- Vitamin C: 2%
- Calcium: 0%
- Iron: 0%
Fresh chives also contain cancer-fighting benefits. Researchers discovered that the types of cancer chives have the strongest positive impact on are stomach and colorectal cancers. This is because of the rich organosulfur compounds found in chopped chives. You’d need to eat 10 or more vegetable servings each day, though, to get the full benefits.
Mental Health Benefits
Chives are good for an array of things. In addition to helping to fight cancer, they can have mental health benefits, as well. They can help with:
- Mood Enhancement
So, what is it that chives contain, that can be so helpful when it comes to mood and sleep problems? It’s something called choline. Choline is a vital nutrient that makes it easier to sleep. It also contributes to improved muscle movement and better memory.
It’s been shown to increase dopaminergic activity, as well. Dopamines are vital in fighting depression. The more dopamines present in the body, the less likely a person is to suffer from the debilitating effects of depression.
How Do You Grow Chives?
Growing chives is one of the easier things you will grow in your garden. You only need one decent stem to grow your chive herbs from. Even after you snip off what you need, the stem will continue to grow. It really is one of the easier garden items to keep replenished.
Like anything else you will grow, chives require a good amount of sun and enough water to help them thrive in their garden environment. Other than that, they’re pretty hardy. You should be able to take a few fresh chives anytime you need some.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re growing your own chives.
Be prepared for Chive Blossoms.
You will soon discover that your chive plant is flourishing when it sprouts beautiful, edible purple blossoms that can be used as a lovely garnish. The blossoms have a mild taste and give off a hint of garlic flavor. You’ll want to remove them before they go to seed.
Trimming the Chive Plant & Blossoms.
When it comes to the chive plant, you can simply snip off the pieces you’d like to use. The stem will continue growing. However, the blossoms that develop are tougher than the simple stems themselves. This means that rather than leaving the stem after you’ve snipped off the blossom, you’ll need to snip off and discard the entire stem after you’ve trimmed off the blossom.
What Can I Cook With Chives?
Chive recipes are simple to come by. Once you’ve discovered what an agreeable ingredient they are, you’ll understand why so many people enjoy cooking with them.
Some of our favorite chives recipes, include mixing them into the following favorites:
- Baked Potato
- Chive Butter
Consider making an easy vegan soup. Chives can be added to this recipe, or they can be used in place of the leeks. This is an excellent option for people who don’t care for the strong taste of things like leeks and onions. Chives still contribute a lot of flavor without being overwhelming.
There are many delicious recipes on Nutrition Realm, where chives can be used in place of stronger ingredients.
Whether you’re looking for a way to bring some new flavor into your life, or you just want to use more allium vegetables in your diet, chives are a great way to do it. Consider growing your own in order to achieve the maximum benefits possible. There’s no greater convenience (or treat) than being able to trim off fresh ingredients for dinner. Fresh, chopped chives might just be the secret ingredient for healthy recipes you’ve been looking for.