Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe

Chive blossoms are a bittersweet flower for me. Sweet because their lavender dandelion-like pompoms herald warmer weather–and after the blunt-force snow storm we had last October, they certainly are a welcome sight. Bitter because our backyard garden bed has been the site of countless murders, our Devil Cat escorting less nimble animals to their maker.

Deaths aside, The One and I have been growing chives for 15 years. At first we used to hurry to eat them early in the season, before their annoying puffs started to bud. We mistakenly thought the plants were spent when that happened, and so left them to the wildlife. A few years later we went to On Rue Tatin Cooking School, headed up by La Dame Susan Herrmann Loomis. One afternoon while I tossed a salad for the class, she pulled me into the her garden and instructed me to pluck those puffy lilac blossoms. “You mean you eat them?” I asked. “Oh, David,” she said, looking at me as if I were a mentally challenged cocker spaniel. “Bien sûr.

Since then, every May The One and I practically pull our chairs up to the side of the garden and wait for the blossoms. Once they burst, we sprinkle them over green salads, spritz them on potato salads, and toss a single puff into a Gibson (when we have a Gibson lover visiting). This year, inspired by my spate of DIY projects, we’re steeping them in vinegar to lend a hint of onion to all kinds of dishes. And every time we shake the infusion on fries or make a vinaigrette, we say a little prayer for the dearly departed.–David Leite

LC Pretty Is As Pretty Does Note

Perhaps you recall your mom lecturing you about how “pretty is as pretty does”? Yeah, we heard it, too. (Uh, that is, “we” as in the Ladies of Leite’s. Not David.) For years it made us mistrust pretty things, thinking there must be something subversive or devious or otherwise ill-mannered about them. This lovely vinegar, though, dispels al suspicions. It’s sheer prettiness, albeit allium-infused, through and through.

Special Equipment: a sterilized 1-pint canning jar

Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups chive blossoms, snipped right beneath the head

Directions

  • 1. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Keep an eye out so that it doesn’t boil; you want the warmth of the vinegar to seduce the coy, subtle flavor out of the blossoms, not immolate them.
  • 2. Meanwhile, plunge the flowers in a bowl of cold water and gentle swish them around to flush out any dirt and bugs that have taken up residence. Dump the flowers into a colander and thwack it against the side of the sink to shake off the excess water.
  • 3. Stuff the pint jar with the blooms. Don’t be too Martha about this. It’s okay if the blossoms get crushed a bit. (Confession, I lightly packed the flowers for the photo because I wanted pretty-pretty. Don’t be precious like me.)
  • 4. Pour enough of the warm vinegar into the jar just to submerge the blossoms, using a metal spoon to push down any errant blooms that want to float up over the top. You might not need all of the vinegar.
  • 5. Let the vinegar cool, then place a square of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and screw on the top. You want to make sure the vinegar doesn’t come in contact with the metal lid, as the acid will erode the finish of the cap and do nasty things to the taste of your infused vinegar. Of course, you can make short work of this by using a glass-lidded canning jar–I just can never find them. Place the container in a dark, cool spot that’s so hidden you’ll forget about it. This infusion benefits from a long steep–1 to 2 weeks minimum. Trust me, the vinegar will bless you abundantly for your patience–or your forgetfulness.
  • 6. When you’re happy with the chive-y strength of the brew, strain it through a fine sieve and toss the spent blossoms. Pour the vinegar into your favorite (preferably glass) sterilized bottle with a rubber stopper and display prominently. Its hue–the blush of a very embarrassed Rosé–is a great conversation starter. Just don’t forget to use it.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Comments
Comments
  1. Jayne Lein says:

    Wow, thanks for the info! I’m going to make some today!

  2. Susan says:

    I’m so glad you discovered this and shared it with us. I cannot tell you how many chives I’ve pulled up and tossed because they had flowered. I finally quit planting them. I always thought the blossoms were kind of pretty but had no idea they were okay to eat. I’ve been such a spaniel!

  3. I have a nice bunch of chives in my garden that have been producing for years. I’ve loved those dainty flowers but have never once thought of actually USING them. I’m thinking this has to happen…thanks.

    • David Leite says:

      Barbara, they’re great in potato salads (one of our favorites) and on green salads, too. Just break them apart so you can strew the individual flowers across anything you want to make pop.

  4. P. K. Newby says:

    Great to be following you on Twitter, David, to learn of many delicious things! (I took your food writing class last year at BU, by the way.) This post in particular is fabulous because I, too, am new to chive blossoms, but couldn’t resist buying some at yesterday’s market because they’re so very pretty. Thanks to this post, now I know what the hell to do with them.

    • David Leite says:

      P.K. so glad to have you here. Now you go into that kitchen and make some vinegar. And when it’s done steeping you come tell Fatty Daddy what you think!

  5. My Southern self wishes to pitch a hissy fit at this moment in time. The cause of the upheaval has everything to do with the wonderful idea shared in this post and the fact that my chives have, for the most, stopped blooming for the year. I may get a bloom here and there but not nearly enough to make this infused vinegar. Throwing some lavender blossoms in might be nice, too! That would soften up the flavor and be a nice savory application for lavender, of which I have plenty. I will spend the next few minutes staring at the picture hoping to seer the image in my brain. Who knows what I’ll be able to remember this time next year!

    • David Leite says:

      Jax, lavender would be lovely, I think. What not make it the same way as this and let’s compare notes in two weeks.

      • That’s a deal, Lucille! I have blackberry lavender vinegar in a state of infusion as we speak.

        • Lindsay Myers says:

          What a beautiful flavor combo that’s going to make, Jackie!

          • I was so pleased with the end result of my blackberry-lavender vinegar. The color is stunning, and the scent of the lavender is still lingering after several weeks. I used it in a recipe for Red Velvet Brownies and I’ll be making a vinaigrette for a luncheon that I’m hosting in a couple of weeks. Favors for my luncheon guests will be pint jars of blackberry vinegar. Sadly, my lavender isn’t doing well now due to excessive rain and heat. The color is stunning! I know I said that once before but it bears repeating.

            Reader's Blackberry Lavender Vinegar

            • David Leite says:

              The color is indeed stunning. I love working with flavored vinegars. The tarragon version is steeping as we speak.

  6. Judy says:

    Love the swish and thwack! exactly what I do! Have you ever tried the broken apart flower heads in an omelet? It’s one of those “hmmm what is that flavor” tastes not quite oniony and not quite flowery – especially good in a veggie cheesy filling.

    I never thought of doing vinegar with them–guess I need a bigger patch. I have to make myself leave some to blossom as it is–any extras I freeze in ice cubes for winter. This coming winter I am going to try one of my grow boxes with herbs in one of our south facing windows. Can you even imagine picking fresh basil and chive all winter here in Maine.

    • David Leite says:

      Pam, I’ve never tried them in an omelet, only on top. I like that idea. I know some people who can keep herbs in pots going year round. Not me. I pass by them, and it’s as if I give off a whiff of sulphur. They just keel over.

  7. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Here’s hoping the garlic chives and the onion chives I planted come up, so I can do this. Not having much luck with my garlic again this year so far. Not having good luck with my carrots either. My other plants are looking good though. I’m going to have to do this, if my chives come up.

  8. I’ve never come across chive blossoms, but I want to so badly! Maybe I can find some when I go to NYC this summer…that city has everything =)

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      I’m not a resident of NYC myself, Joanne, but I wish you luck finding those blossoms! Perhaps a local farmer’s market could help you out? And of course, our trusty NYC crew could point you in the right direction as well.

  9. maggie says:

    Perfect timing for my two chive plants that are loaded with blossoms! I replaced all my canning jar lids with plastic lids that are sold in wide-mouth and regular. They make great storage jars, as well as the lids working well for making preserved lemons, replacing the insert with the canning jar and plastic lid for my yogurt maker and now this recipe for vinegar.

    • Rachel Kaufman says:

      Oh, what a great idea–no more rust or fuss at all, not just for this recipe. Good luck with the recipe–it sounds delish, doesn’t it?

  10. Judy, that’s a great idea about the omelet. And David, I can’t wait to get up to my country place this weekend and behead all the chives!!! Does that make me a bad person? When I’ve made tarragon vinegar in the past, I just make it in wine bottles, it recycles bottles and corks (it’s a good excuse to drink) and there’s no issue with the metal corroding.

    • David Leite says:

      Anne, being a murderer of chive blossoms isn’t a crime in my book. I fact, I see a sea of them mocking me, so I’m going out there and cutting the rest. I guess that makes me a repeat offender.

  11. David Leite says:

    Oh, another use that I’m just dying to try is making homemade mayonnaise with it. (Confession: I just started making homemade mayo again–17 years or so after learning it in school.) I use white wine vinegar when making mayo, so chive blossom–infused vinegar could be a hit.

  12. Rita J says:

    Thank you! My chives are in full blossom. In two weeks, June 17ish, I will post about it. I’m having an omelet made with fresh eggs from my own hens, onions, green peppers, a dash of hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Love your site.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Rita, your omelet sound wonderful. Look forward to the post–and let everyone know you heard of it here!

      • Rita J says:

        David, I made the Chive Blossom Vinegar. Left it in the dark for an extra week, because I forgot about it. It is great! It is such a pretty red colour and the taste is wonderful.

        Reader Chive Blossom Vinegar

  13. I didn’t have 2 1/2 cups of chive blossoms, so I’m making a smaller bottle right now. Had a bunch of sage blossoms, so did that, too. Can’t wait to taste them in a few weeks!

    • David Leite says:

      Laura, I hope you like it as much as I do. It’s sweeter and onion-y. It’s great in homemade mayonnaise, on fish and chips, fresh sliced avocado, um, just about anything.

  14. Brooks says:

    My stumble onto this post could not have been more timely. I’m in the throws of planning my 2013 garden. This year, in addition to the often divided plot of spring onions, guess which member of the allium family will have a spot too? Thank you for the inspiration―I can hardly wait!

  15. Elisse says:

    This is a keeper! I had NO IDEA you could eat them or use them for anything! I’ve planted them near all the roses & fruit trees, as they do help keep bugs away, and they flower all the time & (dumb me) as always cut off the flowers and tossed them! Not anymore! :-)

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail