Chive blossoms are a flavorful, aromatic, and colorful edible flower that will appear at the end of chive stalks in late springtime. Chives are the smallest and most mild-tasting member of the Allium genus, which includes onions, garlic, and leeks. This perennial develops puffy purple flowers during the months of May and June. These blossoms have a delicate flavor of onion and garlic and can be used as both an attractive garnish as well as a tasty ingredient in a variety of recipes.
What Are Chive Blossoms?
In the late spring or early summer, chive blossoms appear at the top of the blade-like stems of the chive plant. The light purple colored puff-like flower is somewhat star-shaped, and consists of several florets joined together at the flower's head. Each blossom measures approximately two inches in diameter. The blossoms smell mildly of garlic with a hint of floral and taste similar to chives.
What Do They Taste Like?
Chive blossoms have a delicate onion-garlic taste, just a whisper of the strong flavor found in the chives themselves, along with some earthy undertones. The mild flavor means they can be added to a dish and not overwhelm the other ingredients.
Cooking With Chive Blossoms
The blossoms are sold attached to the chives, so they need to be removed from the chive stems, which can easily be done with kitchen shears or scissors. Before using the chive blossoms, rinse them well in water to remove any insects; plunging in cold water a few times is a good way to assure the blossoms are bug-free. The blossoms should be dried gently with a paper towel or allowed to air-dry before using.
The flowers can either be kept whole or separated into florets. The florets will easily release when pulled away from the flower head using your fingers. Some florets will detach along with a little stem, which is, of course, edible and adds to the blossom's visual appeal.
Recipes With Chive Blossoms
The chive blossoms are most often used as a pretty garnish for salads and crudite platters but can be added to soups, sauces, and potato and egg dishes. Chive blossoms are also an ideal ingredient to flavor vinegar.
Where to Buy Chive Blossoms
Toward the end of spring, chive blossoms can be spotted at some farmers' markets and fresh and organic food shops. Look for firm green stems and intact lavender colored flowers that are not wilted, dried, or browning. If you grow chives, you can enjoy the chive blossoms from your own garden.
Chive blossoms should be kept in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator where they should last up to a week.
Health Benefits of Chive Blossoms
Chive blossoms have the same nutrition as chives. This herb is high in calcium, potassium, beta carotene, vitamin K, and folic acid. Members of the Alium genus, such as onions, garlic, and chives, have been used for years medicinally to boost the immune system and ward off colds, and studies have shown they may help decrease the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
Nicastro HL, Ross SA, Milner JA. Garlic and onions: their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015;8(3):181-9. DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0172