It’s easy to make sweet, delicately flavored chive blossom vinegar. The blossoms are cleaned and placed in canning jars and warm white wine vinegar is poured over. Once cooled, the vinegar is left in a cool dark spot to infuse and turn a blushy-pink.
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 herb 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. Originally published May 26, 2012.–David Leite
Chive Blossom Vinegar
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 5 M
- Makes 1 1/2 cups
Special Equipment: a sterilized 1-pint canning jar