I have an appetite for chives. Chives in boiled dumplings, chives in pot stickers; chives chopped, stir-fried and hidden into chive pockets; chives wrapped into steamed buns and strung onto sticks with enoki or chicken skewers from vendors on the streets in Asia; chives fried with egg, dried shrimp, thin slivers of pork and rice noodles grandma would make by the mountain-full. I eat chives for the taste just as much as the love of the memories I have of eating them.
There is something incredibly beautiful about chives blossoms, the tiny bursts of purple on long green stems, the pungent smell and tiny seeds that fall from their pods. I also cherish the fact that I get to harvest a handful of these beauties every year from my dad’s yard — so pretty that I put them in vases for a few days before making a recipe out of them.
I chuckle to think of the traits I bring from Asian culture into photography —choosing to photograph subjects that are at once tasty, photogenic, accessible and meaningful. It’s almost like someone said, “I created these chive blossoms, make good use of them!” An opportunity one must not pass.
So here is a recipe for chive blossom vinegar. A vinegar that will taste slightly like chives and turn the liquid into a deceivingly shade of rosé. Great for pickling daikon or adding flavour to a salad.
Chive Blossom Vinegar
You will need:
• A handful of chive blossoms (use blooms that bloomed and have yet gone to seed)
• Vinegar (I used rice vinegar for this one)
1. Behead chive blossoms, wash thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Transfer chive blossoms into a clean jar. Mash slightly with a spoon to release flavour. Top the blossoms with a sprig of chive stem if you like, chopped.
3. Fill to the brim with vinegar.
4. Let sit in a cool dark place for two weeks. Strain the liquid and keep in a sterilized jar for up to 6 months.
* Rice vinegar can be substituted with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
* For a quick pickle, heat the vinegar until it comes to a simmer (do not boil, it will drain the colour from the blossoms), repeat with steps 3 and 4 above. Vinegar will be ready in 3 days.
More chive blossom vinegar recipes here: