Long Reads

Garlic Chives and How to Use Them

June  7, 2014

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more. This post was brought to you by our friends at Evolution Fresh, who like fresh, flavorful ingredients as much as we do.

Today: We're a little herb-obsessed around here, and our latest paramour is the garlicky cousin of common chives.

Garlic Chives and How to Use Them, from Food52

Shop the Story

If you’re in need of inspiration in the kitchen, you might want to choose a member of the allium family: Green garlic modeled for the cover of this lovely book and onions have inspired odes. And if you choose garlic chives as your produce muse, well, you’d be in good company -- they've sat for Van Gogh. At first glance they look similar to common chives, but take a closer look, and you’ll see that garlic chives have wider flat leaves (1, below) -- like extremely overgrown grass.

It's not just the leaves you can eat, though -- the flower stems, buds, and pretty white blossoms are all edible too. (Sometimes different varieties are grown for their leaves and others for their flower stems, but both can be harvested from the same plant.) Look for garlic chives at your farmers market, a well-stocked grocery store, or an Asian market. You might also come across a yellow version, which gets its pale color from etoliation, a second round of growth in the dark. 

More: Sound familiar? Endive is another twice-grown diva, and pronouncing it correctly will turn you into a diva too.

Garlic Chives and How to Use Them, from Food52

Garlic chives can be chopped and used as a garnish just like regular chives are; try using them in compound butter or sprinkling on soup as Andrea Nguyen does. They can also be treated more like a vegetable -- try stir-frying garlic chives or stuffing them into dumplings. In Oriental Vegetables, Joy Larkcom suggests using garlic chives for tempura: Tie them into bundles, dip them in batter, and deep fry. Garlic chives also pair well with eggs; try using them in a no-flour-needed egg noodle

However you decide to cook with them, do so quickly. Keep your garlic chives in the refrigerator stored in a plastic bag for a few days (the yellow blanched variety should be used within a day or so), and heed Larkcom's caution: The longer they're stored, the more their flavor will intensify.

Tell us: How do you like to use garlic chives?

Photos by Mark Weinberg

This post was brought to you by Evolution Fresh. Check out their new pairing guide to find out which foods go best with their juices.

11 Comments

Angela P. July 19, 2017
Thanks for the blog. I was just wondering a bit more about them. If I can buy seed and start them. I was supposed to use them in a Potsticker but used regular chive and crushed garlic. I have regular chive that and will find a plant or seed to put in the ground. Thanks!<br />
 
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. July 19, 2017
You can definitely get seeds online -- good luck with them!
 
GregoryBPortland July 25, 2016
I've been watching The Best British Baking Show and one of the bakers this season made a wild green chive quick bread with pesto. Some years ago I accidentally bought a garlic chive plant and have used it very little, yet every year it comes back and rewards me with beautiful flowers and I'm feeling guilty about neglecting it. I'm wondering if I can substitute wild garlic chives for my garlic chives? Sounds like they would make a fine garnish for risotto.
 
Mr_Vittles June 10, 2014
Traditionally, Koreans make a chive pancake called "pa jeon". They are flat, greasy little flavor bombs often consumed with copious amounts of unfiltered rice wine called "makkgeoli". They are made by quickly stir frying a bunch of whole chives, ladling a small amount of flour based batter, allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes, flipping, and briefly cooking the other side.
 
HalfPint June 9, 2014
My mother used them like a vegetable in a soup with a little ground meat, fried garlic, and small-ish cubes (~1") of soft (not silken) tofu.
 
Rebecca V. June 8, 2014
i just used them in ramen!
 
babytiger June 8, 2014
They're wonderful in dumplings. Garlic chive, shrimp, pork and egg - my favorite type of dumplings.
 
sfmiller June 8, 2014
I like to substitute them for scallions in scallion pancakes. They also have a real affinity for potatoes: throw a handful into mashed potatoes or buttered new potatoes or potato pancake batter or potato soup. Aargersi is right about them being prolifically self-seeding. Grow them once (the flowers are beautiful--white and honey-scented and attractive to bees) and you'll probably have more than you need for life.
 
aargersi June 7, 2014
I use them in EVERYTHING because ours bloomed, jumped the pot, and now we have more than there are stars in the galaxy. Sprinkled into soups right at service, eggs of course, potato salad and/or grilled corn salad. Love the tempura idea! I like to add some to various pestos as well.
 
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. June 8, 2014
Love the pesto idea! (And wow, that is A LOT of garlic chives!)
 
Rumi143 June 7, 2014
They are amaaaazing in scrambled eggs