Onion chive flower bud
Flowers & Herbs, Garden of Eatin'

Chive Blossom

One of my favorite things about spring is seeing my plants in bloom after a dormant winter. My onion chives, all gangly and greenish-yellow the last few months, are now starting to pop up again with the first buds of the season. These little flower heads will soon burst into colorful arrays of pompoms, which have the same mild onion flavor as the stems.

Though chive blossoms look like single flower heads, you can see in the picture that they are actually tight clusters of many tiny flowers. Once chives start to blossom, keep cutting them back to encourage growth by trimming small sections at a time.

Chives belong to the genus allium, which also includes garlic and onion. Chives are part of the same family (Liliacae) as ornamental lilies, and overwinter as bulbs in the ground. What differentiates chives from lilies is the presence of sulfur compounds, which give them an “oniony” taste.

I love snipping chive blossoms to use as garnish for soups and salads. Not only are they delicious, but the pretty colors (usually pink, lavender, or white) really perk up a monochromatic dish!

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