The smallest member of the onion family, Chives resemble hollow little blades of grass and taste of delicate, mild onions. Chives' distinctive smell and taste is derived from a volatile oil, rich in sulphur and common to the onion family, but milder and more subtle in chives.
Chives have been cultivated in Europe since before the Middle Ages, but are also native to North America. The ancient Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat.
Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France, where they are one of the components of the Fines Herbes blend, and in Sweden, where chives are used as an ingredient of the graddfil sauce [served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations].
With their mild onion flavor, chives complement potatoes, cauliflower, corn, tomatoes, fish, veal, creamy sauces, cheese and eggs. While they grow easily in the yard or in a patio flowerpot during the summer, these air-dried chives are handy to have on hand throughout the year. Include them in salads and dressings and cold foods. For texture and zip, add chives at the very last moment when cooking hot soups, stews and sautés.