Chive Blossom Vinegar

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 Blossom Vinegar

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

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  • (10)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
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Special Equipment: a sterilized 1-pint canning jar



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.

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.

Stuff the pint jar with the blooms. Don’t be too Martha about this. It’s okay if the blossoms get crushed a bit.

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.

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.

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.

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  1. Hi. How would you recommend i picked the chives rather than the flowers? is it the same process? and how long would the infused the vinegar last? Thanks.

    1. Hi Dania. We haven’t made vinegar just from the chives. Almost all recipes out there are for chive-blossom vinegar. Occasionally, you see recipes for chive plus another herb, such as tarragon. I suggest doing a very narrow Google search.

  2. Is it ok that I did not warm the vinegar? Just poured it over the chive blossoms and let it brew for about 16 days in the pantry. Looks and smells amazing!

    1. Yes, that’s fine Julie. Using warmed vinegar helps to coax a bit more flavor from the blossoms, but it sounds like you still got plenty of flavor!

    1. We’re not sure how others might feel about vinegar perfume, Julie, but it does look stunning! Lovely job packaging it up!

  3. I’m new to gardening in general and have recently started doing research on what I can do to preserve all of my herbs and spices. Is it posible, like with herb butter, to freeze this recipe in ice cube trays for later use?

    1. Good question Megan. After steeping the blossoms and straining the vinegar, you could freeze it, however, vinegar has an extremely long shelf life, so it’s not really necessary.

  4. Instead of a metal lid, get the lids meant for freezing in Mason jars, made of white plastic. They’re even dry-erase for ease of labeling.

  5. This was such a beautiful way to use my chive blossoms before they faded away! Super simple recipe, loved the bit about not being “too Martha” about it hahaha. I ran out of white wine vinegar so I used about half distilled white vinegar and it worked out just fine. It’s a great thing to dress up salads and the color is just SO pretty! Thanks for this recipe!

  6. I make jams and pickles a lot – also salad dressings- using Ball and Mason jars. These days it’s easy to find plastic lids – perfect for fridge storing when canned are opened and especially perfect for any acid based items (like vinegar and pickles) that can’t be stored with the metal lids.

    Making the blossom vinegar today. Thanks.

  7. I made this last year – and then forgot all about straining it. So it’s been sitting there, pink and inviting, tempting me to strain out the buds and use it. What would your recommendation be? Ditch it and start over or strain and use?

  8. I have two questions. First, the instructions specify cutting the blossom as close to the top as possible. I cut the blossoms this morning with the chive stalk still attached (the stalk gets so woody once it blossoms, it’s not good to eat). Will including the stalk in the vinegar adversely affect the vinegar?

    Second, can this be done with basil blossoms? Or, any suggestions of what to do with basil flowers?
    Thank you.

  9. Well, I wasn’t very creative with my photography (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?). I make a mock potato salad using cauliflower and this vinegar puts it over the tippy top. People forget they’re eating low-carb and clamor about, asking what that “Je ne sais quoi” flavor is. Mwah!!

      1. Just made two pints—I sterilized the brewing jar and infused the chives (not their blossoms) just as the vinegar was off the heat. Was that OK to do?

          1. Hi! Thank you, yes filled two jars’ worth with the blossoms. The chive infusion was probably less than a minute, though…Hopefully I didn’t alter the flavor too much, and appreciate your response!

  10. Hello, great dressing. How long would the dressing last? If i made a lot and bottled it, is there any way of preserving and saving my second bottle for later in the season…say winter? Thanks.

  11. Just took the steeping chive vinegar out of the cabinet and jarred it up today. It’s been in there for about two months, just patiently getting more and more chivey. I have never seen such a beautiful vinegar before. It’s deep purple in color and the smell is enough to drive a person crazy with desire for something to eat it with RIGHT NOW. Jarred up my mint vinegar and fennel vinegar today also. We are ready for the coming six months of eating.

  12. Thanks so much for this lovely recipe. I have made this vinegar for a few years now since I first saw your article. David, Bernardin makes a plastic lid to fit standard canning jars now which eliminates the need for having to use the parchment paper. It is available in stores and through Amazon. Also I have ordered Maple syrup bottles direct from a supplier in Quebec to bottle vinegars. They come with self sealing tabs and plastic caps and look very elegant.

  13. I started some jars of this about a week ago but just re-looked at the post to remind myself of the time frame it needed to sit and realized I put cheesecloth over the jars, not parchment! Did I ruin it, or will it be OK?!

  14. This sounds absolutely lovely! I’ve been using the blossoms for years in various dishes but had not considered making a vinegar! Brilliant.

    You may want to try making a tempura batter and fry the blossoms up for a snack. Beautiful and delicious. Cheers!

  15. Keep your cats inside! It’s not fun or cute to read about someone’s cat running around killing small animals. It’s clueless and irresponsible of you. Cats don’t need to go out. They are continually happy and content living indoors. Laziness and cheapness are the only reasons people let cats outside. You’re too cheap to buy cat litter and too lazy to change it.

    1. June, thank you for writing. Rory, AKA Devil Cat, was basically feral when we first saw him. It took us more than two years to domesticate him enough to live with us. In the process, I have suffered many bites, one that caused me to spend time in the hospital attached to an IV antibotic drip because the infection was so bad. Yet we have never considered giving him up for adoption–even though our medical bills were getting high–and we have spent thousands of dollars on vets over the years for him. We made a commitment to him 10 years ago (when we suspected some of our neighbors were kicking and abusing this poor stray cat) to care for him the best way we could, and we intend to see that through until the end of his life. And in the course of that decade, he has become one of the sweetest, most loving cats around.

      For the record: He has two litter boxes–one in the house, where he stays often these days, and one in the basement. We change them frequently, as we want them to be clean–even if he doesn’t use them. I spend hours each week trying to coax him in the house, but because of how he came to us, he prefers the outside and has disappeared if we keep him in too long. He hates it inside during warm weather. We have consulted several vets and a cat specialist, all of whom said to keep this type of cat inside would be cruel. (All of our previous four cats were 100% indoor cats.) It hurts me terribly when I see he has killed an animal, and I have rushed some of those animals to the vet in hopes of helping them. What we did since this post was written, was enclose the garden so that animals can feast on the seeds, suet, bread, and nuts we put out without having to worry about Rory and the three other outdoor neighborhood cats.

      So…lazy? Hardly. Cheap? Absolutely not. I only wish you could have used your considerable energies to read more about what we have done for our pets rather than insulting my partner and me.

  16. Thanks for the Chive Blossom Vinegar recipe. What a great idea. I’ve been digging up my chives and giving them away…they have taken over the herb garden. After letting it rest for a few weeks can I keep a few of the blossoms in the dispensing jar or do all the blossoms need to be disposed of? Just thought it might be pretty.

    1. You’re more than welcome, akflurry. The only problem with keeping the blossoms is they discolor as they turn the vinegar first a pink then purple hue. All that’s left are slumps of ugly-ass gray in the bottom of the jars.

  17. 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! :-)

  18. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. What are some other uses for the vinegar? I have tons of chives each year. It’s the only thing I haven’t managed to kill off in the garden yet.

  19. 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.

      1. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

          1. It’s from the French sparkling lemonade. My husband loves the stuff and the bottles are beautiful. Wine bottles work well too. More effective but much less pretty are sport water bottles. The squirt tops work great for vinegar. I have some tarragon vinegar in one from Canyon Ranch.

  22. 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.

    1. 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?

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. 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!

          1. 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

  26. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  27. 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!

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