Chives – The Smallest Member Of The Onion Family
Chives are a member of the Alliaceae family also known as the onion family which contains two members, the onion variety, botanical name Allium schoenoprasum with flowers that look purple pink in color and an onion taste and the garlic variety, botanical name Allium tuberosum with white flowers and a garlic taste. The leaves are the portion of the plant that is eaten, since the bulb is basically nonexistent. The family also includes garlic, leek, and shallots. The name comes from the Latin cepa for onion and the French cive.
Chives are native to the cooler areas of Europe and Asia, and now grow wild in Canada and the Northern United States.
The ancient Greeks were heavy consumers of the herb. The Chinese variety of the herb the garlic variety has been used in Chinese cuisine since 3000BCE and also used in medicine as an antidote to poison and to stop bleeding. The herb was used in superstitious practices by the Romans and during the Middle Ages.
The fresh variety of the herb are usually sold in bunches and shouldn’t look wilted. The onion variety has tubular leaves and the garlic variety have flat leaves. The dried herbs should be stored in an airtight package, in a cool, dry place away from any light source.
These herbs are frequently used in commercial packets of dried soups and sauces. They are also nice in white sauces, salad dressing, mayonnaise, omelets and scrambled eggs, and as a garnish on chicken and fish.
For additional information about chives click on the link to Wikipedia.org
For some great sections on herbs and spices some great references are:
• The Spice and Herb Bible – Second Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill
• The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors
Herbs and Spices
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