Monday, May 18, 2009

First Garden Produce of Season

Does this count, or am I stretching it? Nah, I'm countin' it. Considering the fact that chives are about the only thing in the garden that will consistently grow right through our spring snowflakes, I think they should get extra credit as garden produce.

Maybe most of you already know this but I just last year discovered a good way to "preserve" chives. I love using them during the winter months for color and flavoring. In the past, I've purchased dried chives from our local whole foods co-op but, dang, those little green things are pricey. So I tried drying them myself but found it really labor intensive. (Maybe that's why they're so pricey?) Then last May when the chives had grown full and luxurious, I thought about freezing them. It worked so well that's what I've done again this year.

Chopped 'em all down, I did. Lopped 'em right off. (No worry, it's amazing how fast they'll grow back again.)

A good sit-down job. Listened to a good audio book tape and the job zipped by.

Here are some of the containers labeled and ready for the freezer. When they're frozen solid, the individual pieces do tend to stick together but I take a spoon and scrape out any amount I need. They're never as crispy as fresh chives would be but they're fine in scrambled eggs, soups, cottage cheese, etc. I even sprinkle them over tossed salads.

Good feeling tonight to know I've got our winter's supply of fresh (frozen!) chives put by.


MaineCelt said...

Yum! Great way to preserve them. One of our neighbors grows a huge crop of basil every year, makes it into pesto, and freezes it in ice-cube trays. Once they're frozen, she empties all the cubes into a big bag in her freezer and pulls them out as needed. One cube of pesto is just right for one or two servings of pasta, or it can be added to soups, casseroles, etc.

I wonder, how would it work to freeze-dry the chives by spreading them out on a tray in the freezer and letting it suck the moisture out of them? Would they lose their potency and taste that way, or could it be a workable method?

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - Well, dang! You be one smart cookie! Why didn't I think of that? ('Cause I'm not a smart cookie?) I do that with my raspberries to keep them 'individualized' so I'll bet it would work with the itty bitty chive pieces. I'm gonna do a batch that way and see what happens. Thanks!

I have a friend who does pesto just the way you described. (I guess there is something wrong with me . . . I don't like pesto. I know, I know, EVERYbody loves pesto. 'Cept me. :o( )

Chicken Mama said...

Oooooh! You cut 'em with a pair of scissors!!! WAY too smart! (I've always used my chef's knife to chop them.)

I love the smell of freshly cut chives . . . !

Claire said...

It's so satisfying to get those first yields! I have 14 cups of frozen rhubarb already packed away, which I'm so excited about!
Our chives look terrible (pale and weak) compared to yours.

Mama Pea said...

Chicken Mama - Yes, much, much easier with scissors! (I've done it both ways.) These were so odorific they were almost like onions . . . but gooood!

Claire - Well, your rhubarb has mine all beat to heck. Mine's only about 6" tall.

RuthieJ said...

Your fresh chives look delicious. I even noticed you had some green grass in the background! I hope spring is there to stay now.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Not only is the grass now green, but with all the cool, wet weather we've been having, it's so thick we're gonna have a hard time cutting it for the first time -- which is now overdue! I guess we can say spring is finally here, but we just can't get those temps to go up. A high of 41 degrees yesterday and we keep seeing snowflakes mixed in with the rain!