Chives make a tasty addition to many dishes. If you have been buying chives at a supermarket or a specialty store, you may be interested in learning how to grow your own.
You can also learn how to dehydrate chives so you can enjoy this delicious herb whenever you wish.
The most common way to grow chives is in a herb garden. However, if you prefer to grow them indoors, there are two options.
You can start the chives in your garden, and transplant them into a pot. You can also grow chives from seeds.
Chives are a popular ingredient in soups and salads. There are many other recipes that can benefit from adding the herb. Some examples include omelets, pasta dishes, potatoes, sauces, and more.
Fresh chives taste great, but you can also dry them to use at a later date. You can dry your chives in the oven, in a dehydrator, or by air drying. The drying process is simple and easy.
How To Grow Chives
The ideal soil for growing chives is moist and well-drained. It is beneficial to blend compost into the soil. Chives should be planted in an area that has a considerable amount of sunlight.
The growing period for chives depends on how you begin your garden. If you plant seeds, the chives will be ready to harvest in around two months.
If you prefer to start with live plants, early spring planting will produce results later in the springtime.
How To Harvest Chives
If you planted seeds, you can begin harvesting chives around 60 days after they were planted. If you transplanted live chives, you can harvest in around 30 days.
During the first year you have chives in your garden, they can be harvested three or four times. Chives are a perennial herb, meaning you can harvest them year after year without replanting.
If you own gardening tools, you can use bonsai shears or garden snips. All you really need, though, is a sharp pair of traditional scissors. It is a simple process. Carefully snip your chive leaves one to two inches from the plant’s base.
3 Ways To Dehydrate Chives
Regardless of the method you choose to dehydrate your chives, they need to be prepared for the process. Start by rinsing your chive leaves in cool water.
Carefully blot the leaves dry, using a paper towel. Allow them to air dry for a couple of minutes. Discard any leaves that are moldy or discolored.
1. Air Dry By Hanging
First, gather a small bunch of leaves together to form a loose bundle. Use string or a rubber band to tie the bundle at its base.
Second, place the bundle in a brown paper bag. Cut some small holes in your bag. Hang the bundle in an area that has good air circulation and is well-lit.
Chives should not be dried in direct sunlight. Another option is to use a mesh bag, hung in a dark room.
Third, air drying takes around two weeks.
Check your chives periodically to make sure there is no mold. You will know your chives are ready to harvest when they are brittle and dry. If you are unsure, bend a leaf to see if it breaks.
Fourth, you can make the preparation process easier by using a cutting board or parchment paper. None of your chives will be wasted.
You can use a knife to cut the leaves into small pieces or use your fingers to crumble the chives.
Fifth, use an airtight plastic container or a jar to store your chives. Dry herbs last for months.
2. Dehydrate In A Dehydrator
First, set your food dehydrator to 90 degrees F, or 32 degrees C.
Second, clean the leaves and chop them into small pieces.
Third, spread the pieces on your dehydrating tray. Put a rack on top so the pieces do not fly around while they are drying.
Fourth, the drying time for chives in a dehydrator is about an hour. Make sure they are no longer moist, as moist chives will mold more easily. Similar to air drying, store dehydrated chives in a jar or other airtight container.
3. Dry In Oven
Don’t have a dehydrator? No problem, a regular oven works fine.
First, use a traditional oven. Although you can dry chives in your microwave, they will not retain much flavor, so I don’t recommend it.
Second, begin by preheating your oven to 170 degrees F, or 76 degrees C. This is the lowest heating setting on many modern ovens but for chives it still works.
Third, after cleaning the leaves, cut them into 1/4-inch pieces with scissors or a knife.
Fourth, take a lined baking sheet and spread a single layer of pieces on the sheet.
Fifth, bake the pieces for between one and two hours. Carefully stir them occasionally. Make sure they do not burn. You will know they are ready when they are brittle and can be crumbled in your fingers.
If preferred, keep your oven door open about an inch so that moisture can escape. This will shorten drying time.
Sixth, after you allow your chives to cool, store them in a container or jar. The shelf life of dried herbs can be from 1-2 years.
How To Store Dried Chives
Make sure your chives are completely dry so they do not develop mold. Always use an airtight container to keep your dried chives in good condition.
Glass mason jars are a great way to store them. Store them in a cool dry place. Possibilities include a moisture-free basement or a cupboard that is away from any heating source.
When you have dehydrated your chives properly, and chosen an appropriate storage area, you can expect your dried chives to last between one and two years.
You have another option for storing your dried chives. If you prefer, you can store them in your freezer. You can use an airtight container or a freezer bag.
Another option is to freeze them in ice cube trays. Chop them, pack them into trays, and freeze them. Once they are frozen, you can pop them out and place them in a freezer-safe bag for future use.
When you know how to dehydrate chives, you have taken the first step. However, there is more to success with herbs than simply knowing how to dehydrate chives.
You need to take proper steps to store your herbs, too. Fortunately, dehydrating and storing chives can be easy, regardless of the methods you choose.
You can make the most of your herbs, whether you grow them in your garden or a pot inside your home.
You can find a wide range of recipes that call for this delicious herb, and you can use them as a garnish whenever you wish.
All you need to do is follow these simple instructions on how to dehydrate chives, and you will be able to make many dishes that your family and guests will enjoy.