Keep On Chive-In' With The Chive-Jive!

Apr 21, 2018 ,    ByThe NHC Team,   0 comment(s)

The herb, Allium schoenoprasum, known as common garden chives, has extensive health benefits and uses both in the garden, as a companion plant, and in the kitchen where chives are used in everything from egg dishes to vinegars.

Keep On Chive-In' With The Chive-Jive!

The herb, Allium schoenoprasum, known as common garden chives, has extensive health benefits and uses both in the garden, as a companion plant, and in the kitchen where chives are used in everything from egg dishes to vinegars. How to grow, cultivation requirements, and growing indoors are some of the topics in this article.

Known as common garden chives, Allium schoenoprasum, can be grown indoors and out. Chives are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. They are grown for the flavour of their leaves, which is reminiscent of onion, although much milder.

Both the stems and light purple flowers are used in cooking and the snipped leaves are an addition to many dishes. Chives lose their flavour with long cooking so it is best to add them to dishes at the last minute. For chopping stems, a pair of scissors is the best tool.

Chives can be frozen or dried. They are less flavourful when dried rather that frozen, so they are best used when fresh and snipped, or snipped and frozen. In both cases sort them carefully, removing any yellowing leaves and shoots, and keep only the plump green ones.

It is possible to place chives in non-iodized salt, keep them there for several weeks, remove the leaves, and then bottle the ‘chive salt’ for use in flavouring.

Chives are a perennial in the garden and grow approximately 12 inches (30 cm) tall. They are extremely easy to grow, are drought tolerant, rarely suffer from disease or pest problems, and don’t require fertilizer.

Cultivation requirements for growing chives: full sun, will tolerate light shade; grow best in well-drained, organic, fertile soil; keep soil moist – use mulch, and water during periods of drought.

Chives tend to get overcrowded so dig and divide every three to four years.

Chives are easily grown from seed or can be brought indoors at the end of the growing season. If you are bringing chives indoors, divide a clump, and pot up in good houseplant soil. Leave your chive plant outdoors for a month or so after the first frost to provide a short period of dormancy. Bring them indoors and provide the requirements needed for them to start growing again.

To harvest, snip leaves 2 inches (5cm) from the base of the plant. Cut flower stalks off at the soil line once they have finished blooming. This prevents the plant form forming seed and keeps it more productive.

Chives require at least five to eight hours of sunlight a day. Grow them on a southern or eastern exposure to the light. If you are growing them on a windowsill, turn regularly to ensure every side receives light.

If you are unable to provide this amount of light, they also grow well under fluorescent lights. Hang lights 6 inches above the plants and leave lights on for 14 hours per day.

In the garden, plant chives with carrots. They are good companion plantings for tomatoes and fruit trees.

Chives or garlic planted between rows of peas or lettuce control pashas and are reported to control the incidence of aphids when planted between roses. In the kitchen, use chives in omelets, scrambled eggs, casseroles, rice, dips, gravies, butter, meat, and seafood.

Chives can be added to soft cheese, salads, sandwiches, sour cream, vinegar, and bake potatoes. Chive blossoms can be used for garnishing and are particularly attractive in salads. Chive stems can be used for tying up little bundles of vegetables for appetizers.

In terms of medicinal use, chives have been used dating back to the Roman Empire, but they were likely utilized far before that. They have similar medicinal properties as garlic, although not nearly as potent.

The Amazing Health Benefits Of Chives

Digestive Issues: The allyl sulfides and other unique organic compounds found in chives deliver similar benefits to the body as garlic, and as such, can effectively ease digestive discomfort.

Heart Health: One of the most important organic compounds found in chives is allicin, which has recently been linked to reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body and improved heart health.

Immune System Booster: The high levels of vitamin C found in chives help to boost the efficacy of the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and stimulating the production of collagen, which is an essential component in the creation of new blood vessels, cells, tissues, and muscles.

Bone Health: Vitamin K is very important in the maintenance of bone mineral density and bone integrity. High levels of vitamin K, like those found in chives, can help to produce osteocalcin, which is a key part of maintaining mineral density in the bones.

Cancer Prevention: Quercetin can effectively prevent a wide range of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, lungs, and ovaries. Zeaxanthin and lutein, two other antioxidant compounds found in chives, have been linked to lower chances of oral cancers.

Vision Health: The carotenes found in chives, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, are directly responsible for reducing oxidative stress in the ocular system and delaying the appearance of cataracts in the eye. They also help to slow or prevent macular degeneration, keeping your eyes healthy well into your old age.

Birth Defects: Another of the essential nutrients in chives, folic acid, is essential for pregnant mothers who want to ensure the health development of their infant. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in newborn infants, and chives is a rich source of folic acid for conscientious mothers.

Detoxify the Body: Chives have mild diuretic properties and that detoxify the body. By stimulating urination, chives can help the body get ride of excess toxins, salts, water, and even fat, keeping the organ systems running smoothly and clearing out any dangerous substances that could do us harm.

A Final Word of Warning: An excessive amount of chives, with a high concentration of powerful organic compounds, can cause stomach discomfort. If you are allergic to onions or other members of the Allium genus, consult a medical professional before adding chives to your regular diet.

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