I had a different post in mind for today, but seeing as I’m absolutely wiped out from our plant sale this weekend I decided to go with something short, sweet, and to the point. After a week plagued by freezing temperatures, rain, and wind, today is nothing short of glorious. Though the forecast called for lingering gloom, I woke to glorious blue skies and an abundance of sunlight pouring through my east-facing window. The winds are still whipping around out there (I’ll be glad when that’s over for the season–the plastic on the hoop houses could hardly be more cattywampus at this point after all the buffeting) but otherwise it’s a perfect late spring day. I enjoy this evanescent beauty while I can; in just a month or so these spring winds will dump us in the midst of the summer doldrums and heat.
I didn’t make any chive blossom vinegar last year, so I thought I’d whip up a batch today. Our chive patch isn’t quite in full bloom yet, but there were certainly enough opened and half-opened blossoms to make a pint of infused vinegar.
As I recommended in my previous post about herb-infused vinegars, if you’ve never made an herb-infused vinegar before you should start with a half-pint or pint batch. If you find you absolutely love chive blossom vinegar and can’t live without it, then next year you can make a huge batch to last you the whole year! But if you find you hate it and can’t stand it, then you won’t have wasted too much vinegar or too many chive blossoms. Pour it into a pretty bottle and gift it to a foodie friend.
For this recipe, we’re using common chives (Allium schoenoprasum), often called onion chives. We grow the variety “Staro,” but any variety of common chives with purple flowers will do. Chives flower over a period of several weeks rather than all at once, so if you only have one or two plants, your initial harvest will be small. Don’t despair, though! You can still make this vinegar–just start with the blossoms you have, no matter the quantity, and then keep harvesting more as they mature and open. Add them to your maceration jar until you like the color and depth of flavor.
Harvest chive blossoms when they’re dry to avoid diluting the vinegar with dew or rainwater. Choose blossoms that are just breaking open, are half open, or are fully opened but still richly colored.
Blossoms that have been open for a while will start fading and growing papery from the center outward as the seeds within develop; once they reach this point they are past their prime for culinary use and should be left for the pollinators to work.
If you have a large clump of chives with a plethora of flowers, be sure to intentionally leave some blossoms for the bees–it really doesn’t take many to make a pint of this vinegar.
I typically use a good white wine vinegar for this recipe since it produces a beautiful pink color, but you can use apple cider vinegar instead. With the white wine vinegar you’ll see a color change within 10 minutes of combining the herb and vinegar, which will deepen over the course of the infusion.
We love using chive blossom vinegar on cooked greens (especially chard!) or anywhere else a dash of tangy onion flavor will come in handy–over rice, pasta, sauteed veggies, fish and chicken, salads, and more!
Chive Blossom Vinegar
sterilized pint jar and lid
3/4 cup fresh chive blossoms, chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
Pack the herb into the pint jar.
Add vinegar to pint jar, being sure that the liquid covers the herb. Stir the mixture with a bamboo skewer or wooden chopstick to release any air bubbles and to ensure the herb is evenly coated. Top off with additional vinegar if necessary.
Place a square of wax paper underneath the lid and screw on tight.
Place the jar of vinegar in a dark place, like a cabinet or pantry, for 2-4 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally to ensure the contents are well-distributed.
Strain the herb from the vinegar and pour into a sterilized bottle. Store refrigerated for best flavor and use within 6-12 months.
Note: It’s particularly important to store this vinegar in a dark place as exposure to sunlight or too much ambient indoor light will cause the color to fade over time.