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Fresh chives add flavor, fiber and zip

By Jeff Wilkin
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Onions and peppers are constants in my culinary endeavors.

They show up in home fries, meat loaves and scrambled eggs when I’m at the stove. Lately, I’ve been using fresh greens from my backyard to add flourish and flavor to these favored dishes — chives.

The hardy, perennial herb has been making spring and summer appearances outdoors since a friend brought over a small plant in 2010. I’ve found the finely chopped greens with the mild, onion-like scent have lots of uses.

And anyone can put a plant in the backyard. Chives seem to do well with very little care, and they are just about invincible. It seems my chives were back to full strength as soon as the spring snows vanished.

I’ve chopped chives and mixed them into hamburgers and home fries. But I think they’re best used in dishes where they can be seen — like scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes.

I will chop up 25 wispy stalks at a time and throw a full handful of green into my pot or frying pan. I’ll put chives into blue cheese salad dressing before topping salads; I’ll add them to chili con carnes and soups. I’ll put them in my beer-and-barbecue sauce marinade mix.

The flavor is never overpowering. But there is power in the plant — chives are low in cholesterol and sodium.

The nutrition guys say raw chives are a good source of thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus and zinc. Dietary fiber and vitamins A, C, K and B6 are also in the lineup. And calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, too.

Makes you wonder why Popeye wasn’t packing handfuls of chives instead of cans of spinach. But I know for any serious health benefits, you’d probably have to really put the stuff away. For now, chives are another all-natural food — one where no chemicals or pesticides have been used — for my kitchen.

And they’re free, too.

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