Learn simple ways how to dry chives easily and store them for later use and use in recipes for the wonderful flavor. You can easily use the stored herb for 1-2 years after drying them.
Chives remind us of the good old summer days. Its fresh earthy taste makes us realize how small green herbs can fill our hearts with joy and tranquility.
The dried chives work well to garnish soups, casseroles, and sauces, as well as a topping for dishes like baked potatoes or season salads.
Editor’s Recommendation: How to Dry Parsley at Home
Everyone wants some chives either chopped or sliced mixed with butter alongside steaks. Some people prefer drying the stalks and flowers alike in order to build a sophisticated dish.
Chive blossom vinegar served with some sassy salads is just the most elegant weekend dinner ever. However, sometimes their availability becomes scarce.
Chives are low on calories and are high in beneficial nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K, manganese, and anti-oxidants.
Chives are not grown throughout the year due to which it is a well-known practice to store chives for the off-season. Also, its growth is temperature specific.
Also Read: How to Dry Basil at Home
Hence, it cannot be grown in every climate and geographic region. Let us gather some more information on Chives.
What are Chives?
Scientifically known as Allium schoenoprasum, chives are small herbs producing edible leaves and flowers. Chives are a green vegetable with a mild onion-like flavor. They are related to garlic, Chinese onion, scallion, leek, family.
These perennial plants have been observed mainly across Europe, North America, and partially in Asia. Such herbs are slender, hollow, and grow profusely in clumps.
Chives are much more than just a tasty garnish and are considered both a healing herb and an allium related to garlic and onions. It is a great condiment to grow naturally in your garden.
How to Cut Chives?
The chives in your herb garden have gone to flower and it is time to harvest them for drying.
- Chives should be cut at the base, not high up in the leaves themselves. Cutting them in early morning is the best time, to retain their natural flavors.
- Remove the purple flowers from the tops of the chives before drying as they do not tend to dry well.
- Selecting chives is the primary task before cutting them. You should always go for the brightly-colored and fresh-looking chives. Look for as fresh as you can possibly get.
- Bright-green colored chives will give you the crunchy texture that you need in your food. Before cutting, rinse the herbs properly with water (tap water) to wash off any dirt or unwanted substances/residues.
- Line them up on the chopping board in a way that there is no gap between the corresponding stalks. Also, ensure that all the stalks are of the same length.
- Cut them into 1.5 inches thick stalks either with a pair of scissors or with a kitchen knife. Remember to hold the bunch with your non-dominant hand making sure that you do not press the stalks too much. It will hamper their texture.
- You can leave an inch of the bundle uncut in the ground. It is better for the plant. The plant as a whole needs to have sunlight to grow and thrive. If there is nothing to absorb the sun then the plant is not able to process the sunlight.
As mentioned in the beginning, sometimes you are not able to get fresh chives from the store or from your backyard-garden at home. That is why you need to preserve them for future use.
5 Ways to Dry, Preserve and Store Chives
Drying chives and preserving them is a great way to save them and use them all year long. You can preserve chives primarily in 5 ways at home.
These include drying them by hanging, drying in the sun, drying in the oven, drying in the food dehydrator, and freezing a whole bunch.
Let’s discuss in detail how to dry chives with step-by-step instructions.
1. Drying Chives by Hanging Them
This is the most popular technique used by millions of people for drying chives by hanging them upside down in bunches.
- Firstly, pick some fresh and firm chives.
- Wash them thoroughly under running tap water.
- After this, make a bunch by tying them together with a thread.
- Take a paper bag and put the bunch inside the bag. Turn this bag upside down and hang it in a cool and dry place.
- Make some holes on the sides of the bag for air passage.
- As the chives are dried hanging in a paper bag, this provides protection to the stalks from the sun.
- Leave the setup undisturbed for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, take them out and put them on a parchment paper.
- Now, cut them into small pieces.
- Lastly, for storage, keep them in airtight glass jars in a cool and dark place.
2. Drying Chives in the Sun
Although sun drying is not good for herbs, as they tend to get completely dehydrated that too fast. It also ruins their texture. Although, you might consider drying chives in the sun if your goal is to dry them at the earliest. Herbs are generally dried during winter. Following are the simple steps:
- Start with cutting them into pieces.
- Next, keep the chopped stalks on a parchment paper.
- Leave this setup in the sun.
- Occasionally toss them.
- Keep for a maximum of 1.5 hours. Check the condition in between.
- Once they are thoroughly dried use the Silpat or the parchment paper to funnel them into a dry container with a tight-fitting lid.
- You can store them in a nice cool place easily for 2-3 weeks.
3. Drying Chives in the Oven/Microwave
If you do not have an oven, a microwave can act as a great hack for quick-drying chives. Here, you have to make sure that the stalks are the same size.
- Rinse them thoroughly, place paper towels underneath the chives, and drain all the excess water.
- Take fresh paper towels and place them in-between the towels.
- Microwave at full power for 20 seconds and voila! Your oven-dried Chives are ready.
If you prefer using a normal oven. Follow the initial steps for preparing the chives.
- Preheat your oven at 185degree Fahrenheit.
- Cut them with a pair of scissors (0.7cm each piece).
- Keep them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Put this inside the oven and heat for approximately 2 hours. Check the condition in between. The texture should be crunchy and crispy at the end of the process.
4. Drying Chives in the Food Dehydrator
The principle and the technique remain similar to that of the oven.
- Clean the chives thoroughly and put the stalks in a bunch inside the dehydrator.
- The temperature should be about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Turn on the dehydrator for around 2-2.5 hours.
- Check their rigidity periodically to get your perfectly dried chives.
5. Freezing Chives
Freezing locks the moisture of these herbs. If you have a huge batch of chives to dry, you can simply freeze them at subzero temperatures.
- Wash and finely chop the chives before freezing.
- Put the chopped chives into the ice tray and pour water or oil and freeze.
- You can also use an airtight freezer bag to freeze them intact. Dry-freeze your chopped chives by either vacuum-sealing the herbs or by simply putting them in a freezer bag and removing the air as best you can.
How long do fresh chives last in the fridge?
Properly stored, fresh chives will usually keep well for about 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator.
How to Use Dried Chives?
Even the smallest amount of moisture will quickly rehydrate them which allows you to sprinkle fresh garden herb flavor to your dishes and infuse a great aroma to complete your dishes. You can add them to your recipes of,
- Salads, Avocados,
- Sour cream and Cheese
- Vegetable Soup
- Baked Potato Dishes
- Cottage Cheese
- Egg Recipes, Omelettes
- Chives are work well in combination with basil, chervil, cilantro, fennel, paprika, parsley and tarragon.
**If you need to convert your recipe from fresh chives to dried chives use – 1 tablespoon fresh equals 1 teaspoon dried.
How long do dried chives last?
If you are wondering how long will your dried chives last at room temperature, then we’ve got your back. Properly stored, dried chives in a cool place will generally stay at best quality for about 2 to 3 years.
To increase their shelf life to better retain flavor and potency, store in containers with tight-fitting lids in a cool place.
These were some of the widely used techniques to dry and preserve chives at home. As already known to all, it adds a little oomph to every cuisine.
The rustic nature of chives makes every dish effortlessly beautiful. If you ever wonder what to do with those fresh chives from your garden, do not hesitate to try one of these drying techniques so that you can enjoy a different side of these herbs.
You may also use dried chives as a substitute for Parsley for flavor enhancement.