As you know by now, we are really excited to begin offering locally grown produce to our customers this year. Unfortunately, with the excessive amount of cooler days this spring followed by rain almost every day, most of the crops are taking longer to get planted than our farm partners would like. This week, however, we do have one of our earliest new local produce items being brought to us from the Bountiful Blessings Farm in Hinckley. It’s an herb often used in Asian dishes called garlic chives.
It looks like an onion chive but tastes more like garlic. It is easy to differentiate between onion chives and garlic chives. Garlic chives have a flat, grass-like leaf, not a hollow one as do onion chives. They have a nice garlic flavor with a distinctly garlicky overtone. Young leaves are most tender and work well in egg dishes, soups, marinades, and Asian cooking for dumplings and pot stickers. These chives are also used to add that hint of garlic to sauces, dips, salads, vegetables, etc.
Regardless how you decide to cook with them, do so quickly. Keep your garlic chives in the refrigerator stored in a plastic bag for a few days, but keep this in mind: the longer they're stored, the more their flavor will intensify.
A little more about this herb
White, edible flowers appear in summer and attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. They grow between 12 to 15 inches tall. Garlic chives not only have a multitude of culinary uses, but are said to be beneficial to the digestive system, stimulate appetite, promote blood circulation, and have diuretic properties. The strappy-leafed clumps also make an attractive edging in herb or vegetable gardens.
The Chinese have been growing and cooking with garlic chives for at least 3,000 years (since the Chou dynasty - 1027 BC to 256 BC). But the popularity of this graceful herb with the pretty white flowers extends beyond China. Japanese cooks call garlic chives "nira" and use them frequently in meat and seafood recipes. And many Asian cooks wouldn't consider a noodle stir-fry complete without adding chopped fresh garlic chives for a bit of extra flavor.
As you visit this week, look for our display of garlic chives or ask Dona for help finding them.
Recipes that call for garlic chive