Friday, April 27, 2012

Pretty Purple Flowers in Your Vinegar

Have you ever tried chive blossom vinegar? It's spicy and delicious, it's easy to make, it produces a fabulous vinaigrette, and it adds a spicy kick to so many summer dishes. My advice: give it a try!

The first chive blossom to open in my yard in May 2010

You may already have chive blossoms on your chive plants, or you may be awaiting their arrival. Here in Western Massachusetts, I have a couple of more weeks until mine are in full bloom. As soon as I have enough, I will cut them and make chive blossom vinegar.

Not only do I love the spiciness that the chive blossoms add to the vinegar and the dishes I make with the vinegar, but the jars of vinegar are beautiful to look at — the gorgeous pink-purple hue of the blossoms bleeds into and colors the liquid. I am disappointed that I do not have a photograph of the chive blossom vinegar in the jars from years past to show.

When your chives begin to bloom, you have to cut the blossoms to encourage new growth — so you can do it for the beauty, you can do it for the flavor, or you can do it to encourage growth of your chive plants. For any or all of these reasons, make this recipe:

Chive Blossom Vinegar

To Make Vinegar

  1. Thoroughly rinse chive blossoms to remove dirt and bugs (I've found that little ants really like these blossoms and hide in them quite well).
  2. Let dry on paper towels or spin off excess water in salad spinner.
  3. Put the blossoms in a large glass jar* with a tight lid. 
  4. Fill the jar with white vinegar (you can use the basic white vinegar or white wine vinegar if you want to get fancy) and keep it in a dark place. Whenever you cut more blossoms, add them to the jar with the rest and let them all marinate until fall.**
  5. When the glories of the summer garden have faded (or when you're ready to use it), pull out your jar of chive vinegar and strain out the blossoms.
  6. Rebottle the vinegar in jars (use smaller jars if you were using one large jar before). For gifts use pretty jars and add a few dried chive blossoms*** to each one.
Recipe adapted from Growing & Using Chives by Juliette Rogers © Storey Publishing

*Instead of using one large jar, I use several pint jars.
**You can use the vinegar as soon as 2 weeks after soaking in vinegar.
***Dry the blossoms by placing cut flower stalks in a vase or jar without
    water and letting them sit. Keep them out of the sun to preserve their color.

Ideas for Usage

  • Use this vinegar in any vinaigrette recipe.
  • It adds a kick to potato salads and pasta salads.
  • Use it for pickling cucumbers to give them a hint of spiciness.

Side Notes:
  • You can also eat chive blossoms raw. They make a beautiful edible garnish, but beware: they are spicy!
  • I have made this for the past three years and given several jars to my sister. She can't get enough and is eagerly anticipating this year's batch.

1 comment:

Susan MacWilliams said...

Sounds lovely! Can't wait to try it.

Susan MacWilliams