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Feel Good With These Basil Recipes

Feel good naturally using basil

An antiseptic, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, sedative, or tonic, basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) can be all that depending on how it is used, and how much of it is absorbed.

Using basil leaves and flowering tips

You can use basil as a medical help when your appetite is lacking, when you feel indigestion, gastritis or slight constipation.

basil teaMake a basil tea:

Used in large quantity (several cups a day), you can get effects that are opposite the desired effect. From being a tonic it becomes a sedative.

  • Basil tea has a calming effect and is effective against migraines caused by stress. It also facilitates digestion without causing unpleasant side effects.
  • Basil tea can be extremely beneficial to stressed people, or someone suffering anxiety. In addition it is great for young nursing mothers to increase milk production.

Basil tea

A few leaves of fresh basil, or 1 tbsp dried basil for each cup of boiling water.

Steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Flavor will vary depending on the variety of basil you use. You can also add a little sugar or honey.

Basil syrup

basil syrupIn a large pan bring water and sugar to boiling point, remove pan from heat.

Wash basil leaves, add them to the water sugar mixture and let seep covered one day, stirring once in a while

Filter and boil again, let it simmer gently about 20 minutes.

Pour hot in a clean bottle (pre-heat the bottle first). Close tightly right away.

Keep away from light for 2 months before using. Once you open the bottle it should be refrigerated.

Drink with cold water in proportions of 7 parts water to 1part syrup (good place to start, but you should adjust proportions to your taste), or use on strawberry or vanilla ice cream. You can also use this syrup to sweeten a plain yogurt.

Basil can also be used externally to provide relief in the case of canker sores, pharynx inflammations, insect bites.

Make a decoction by boiling 2 tbsp dried basil leaves and flowers in 1 cup of water. Boil for 20 minutes and filter.

Gargle 2 or 3 times a day.

To make a mouth rinse, add a few mint leaves to the decoction;

Cataplasms

To make a cataplasm with basil, put 6 fresh leaves in boiling water for about 10 seconds.

Drain and apply to the sore area within a pad for an hour.

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Growing Basil

Planting and growing basil tips

How difficult is it to learn how to grow basil?

It is as easy to grow basil in the garden between two tomato plants, as it is to grow on the patio in a pot, or even in the house in a sunny window.

How to start basil plants successfully from seeds?

growing basil from seedsGrowing basil from seeds

It is very difficult to have basil early in the season (end of April, early May) as it needs a lot of heat to germinate.

If it is started from seeds, basil requires a little care when you transplant it, as there is a risk of damaging the roots. If it is bought as a seedling, transferring it to the garden or a larger pot is not at all complicated.

Here are a few tips to grow a lot of this aromatic herb.

When the plants are growing they tend to go to seeds rather quickly but fortunately it is very easy to grow from seeds as soon as temperatures turn around 68 °F.

To cut down on having to weed around growing seedlings place the seeds in little nursery containers filled with a seeding soil. Place 3 seeds per container. Cover with ¼ inch soil and keep moist until they start to grow.

When the seedlings reach about 3 inches (when the plants have 2 or 4 leaves), transplant them to the garden or in larger pots. Choose the strongest of your seedling to transplant. Water regularly.

When should I plant basil?

In warmer climate, it can be planted in the garden around mid April. Usually you should wait May or June to plant it in garden soil, when all risk of freezing is past. In a pot, in the house where it can stay warm, you can plant it anytime you want.

How to move basil plants outside?

You should let the plants get acclimated to temperatures lower than in the house a little at a time.

Planting basil tips

Soil selection: In a pot, adding 10% sand to top soil, will provide better drainage and will keep it from compacting. In the garden if the soil is dense, increase drainage by placing a layer of rocks at the bottom of the hole where you will install your basil plant. You should not have water stagnating at the roots level.

Basil like soils that are rich, not too heavy and cool.

Light and sun

Basil needs a warm and sunny spot, away from drafts and wind.

Distance between plants

If you are planting in a garden row you want to have about 2 feet between plants. A good method is to plant a tomato plant and a basil plant side by side, as basil will protect the tomatoes from some parasites.

How to plant basil?

  • Soak the plastic nursery container, it came in, in a water pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Sufficient to really wet the soil around the roots.
  • During that time dig a hole slightly larger and a little deeper than the pot.
  • If needed add a little compost to the soil.
  • Take the plant out of it pot and place the root ball in the hole, being careful to not plant too deeply.
  • Fill the hole. Pat gently, water well.

If you want to grow basil indoors you do essentially the same, simply fill the pot to half, then place your seedling as you would in the garden.

What to do after planting basil?

If you planted in a garden, you will have to keep weeds away. When the plants are sufficiently developed, cover the ground with mulch to prevent weeds, and to keep the soil cool.

Water regularly and in function of weather conditions.

pruning basil, pinching basilPruning basil is an important part of growing it. Pinch off flowers with your fingers as soon as they appear to keep the production of leaves. Keep watering to help the plant make new leaves.

Three hings to remember when trying to grow basil for a good consumption.

  1. Encourage leaf grow by pinching off flowers.
  2. Basil does not like cold situations, do not attempt to grow seeds outside if it is less than 60 °F.
  3. It needs at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.

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Chicken Balls With Parley

 

Recipe: Chicken Balls With Parley

A fast and easy recipe that is a fresh change from ordinary chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2lbs chicken breast
  • 1 oz bread crumbs
  • Salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp parsley

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken breasts in chunks
  2. Add bread crumbs and mix
  3. Add parsley, salt and pepper and mix again
  4. Form balls with hands (flour hands if it sticks too much)
  5. Place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes before cooking. (It will help them stay together)
  6. Cook in frying pan with oil or butter of your choice, turning them so all sides are brown.
  7. Serve right away.
  8. These chicken balls are good served over pasta with a great tomato sauce.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3

Copyright © herbalplantsandtheiruses.com.
Recipe by Mireille.

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Herb Salad Recipe

I am often asked for salad ideas, and yesterday my friend Elaine asked if you can you make a salad using only herbs?

Of course using only herbs to make simple salads is not only possible, it is healthy (think about all the antioxidants and vitamins it will provide), and it taste really good.

An herb salad is a dish prepared from leaves of any kind of aromatic herbs. It is full of flavor and perfume. It needs to considered a bit of a condiment, but, don’t be fooled by its composition, we are really talking about a salad, not a bunch of chopped up herbs; the leaves remain whole.

For each serving you will need:

A handful of each sage, sorrel, cilantro, thyme, chives, parsley. 3 tbsp vinaigrette

Or you could use a handful parsley, basil, mint, chives, tarragon, the juice of a lemon, and a small amount of olive oil.

The idea is to use what you like and what you have handy.

Preparation

Take all the herbs you have and wash them thoroughly.

Dry herbs then remove leaves off each stems, throw away the stems, keep only the leaves. Only use the tender parts of plants. Cut the larger leaves (for example sorrel and sage) in two or three pieces with scissors.

Thyme leaves must be taken off the stems carefully, you may have to use your nails and pinch them off.

Chives must be cut as finely as possible with a knife.

Add your vinaigrette or lemon dressing and mix well. That’s it! It’s ready.

Notes: this type of salad is perfect served with cold meats, cold cuts, grilled meats, or fish.

 

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Recipe For Creamy Bruschetta With Parmesan

You can make this delicious bruschetta for 3 to 4 people in less than 30 min.

Having guests tonight? Turn your kitchen into a trattoria!  This simple recipe includes 3 components:

  • parmesan sauce
  • Sautéed zucchinis
  • bread

Ingredients for Parmesan sauce
3oz freshly grated parmesan
2oz heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for sautéed zucchinis 
¾ lb zucchini (or one big one)
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients to complete Bruschetta
4 to 8 bread slices (depending on the type of bread you use). At our house we like rosemary artisan bread, or French baguette.
A little extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Grate zucchini with a coarse blade.
Slice bread about ½ in thick
Peel and halve garlic clove, sauté it in the pan with a little olive oil.
Express water from zucchini by squeezing them with your hands, then add to the pan. Salt, add pepper and cook 5 min, stirring once in a while.

Prepare parmesan sauce

Place grated parmesan in a sauce pan, add cream and pepper. Melt at low temperature about 5 min., stirring briskly, until you get a creamy consistency. Remove pan from heat, cover and keep aside.

Making bruschetta 

Preheat oven 375 to 400 (depending on oven) Place bread slices in oven proof dish, season with a little olive oil and grill 5 min.
Remove from oven, turn slices over, rub garlic on one side of bread.
Spread parmesan sauce generously on the garlic side of bread.
Add zucchini over the sauce and return bread slices to the oven until the parmesan sauce starts to melt.

Serve right away, eat hot and enjoy.

Click here for a more basic traditional bruschetta.

creamy bruschetta recipe

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How To Make Bruschetta

Learning how to make bruschetta is very easy, and there are many different bruschetta recipes, however there is a basic way to make it. Anything else is only a modification of the basic recipe. When you learn the basics you can add ingredients to make it your own.

What is bruschetta?

Bruschetta is a very popular appetizer that is typical of the Italian trattorias in Rome. It is very easy to make, and its rich taste has no equal, providing you use good quality products to make it.

What you will need to make bruschetta
For each person :

  • 1 thick slice of artisan bread, Italian or French baguette
  • 1 small tomato
  • 5 basil leaves
  • ⅓ garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt (sea salt is preferred)
  • Pepper (fresh ground is preferred)

How to make bruschetta :

First cut bread slices about ½ inch thick, then toast them. The classic bruschetta recommends that the bread be toasted on a wood fire 1 minute on each side, but that might be a little hard to do, so the toaster will do just fine.

Rub the toasted bread with garlic, (don’t overdo it).

Add the tomato either sliced or cut in small pieces. Roma tomatoes are perfect for this.

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil (remember that extra virgin oil, 1st cold pressed is the best).
Add snipped basil leaves, salt and pepper and serve while it is still hot.

A little tip:
Chianti is a great wine to serve with traditional bruschetta.

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Discover Cilantro and Coriander

Common names: cilantro, Mexican parsley, Chinese parsley, coriander
Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum var. vulgare or macrocarpum, Coriandrum sativum var. microcarpum.

Cooking with cilantro Can you freeze cilantro
Health benefits of cilantro Cilantro nutrition facts
Planting cilantro Historical cilantro facts

While it seems we are talking about two distinct things when talking about cilantro and coriander, the fact is both come from the same herb plant. Cilantro is used when referring to the plant and the cilantro leaves, coriander is used when referring to the cilantro seeds. So now you have it coriander vs cilantro the fight is over. Regardless which you choose, you win, as it is an herb you should really get to know and add to your dishes and diet.

Different varieties of cilantro

A great variety of coriander seeds, each with a distinct taste, are available for culinary purposes but I have not found any different types of cilantro plants in local markets. So when it come to planting cilantro you will have to rely on your locality to find what is available. For planting indoors, there is a variety of Vietnamese cilantro that does better, but, I have not found it in my area, I was however, able to order seeds online.

The variety that I associate with cilantro is mostly due to the very different taste one gets from using leaves vs using seeds.

Why should you consider cooking with cilantro?

  • First if you like mexican foods, there is nothing like the taste of cilantro in the salsa.
  • Everything in a cilantro plant is edible, cilantro leaves, seeds and roots
  • Both leaves and cilantro seeds contain antioxidants.
  • Leaves like parsley leaves are a great source of vitamin K, a nutrient necessary to blood coagulation.

Cooking with cilantro can be done in the following ways:

cooking with coriander : a few leaves finely chopped are largely sufficient to perfume pleasantly salads.

In cooked dishes : you should add cilantro at the end of cooking time. 3 minutes at most before serving. Cooking cilantro too long can be detrimental to your dish.

Furthermore : Leaves and stems are indispensable when making Thai green curry, or the many Indian chutneys.
In addition to salads you should consider adding it to marinades, and many sauces.
The green flower buds are delicious to eat and are often used in Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, and Bengali foods.

There is no real substitute for cilantro, the taste of fresh leaves is very particular and nothing approximate it. If you absolutely need a substitute for coriander seeds, you could perhaps replace it with a pinch of ginger, or a very small amount of curry as there is coriander in curry.

Cilantro roots are also used in Indian and Thai cuisine. After a thorough washing they are usually ground in a mortar or chopped alongside other ingredients, such as garlic, cumin, or lemon grass.

How to preserve cilantro for later use? Can you freeze fresh cilantro?

  • Cilantro leaves fade quickly (and even faster if they are from hydroponic plants!). Drying cilantro leaves will leave you with something that has neither taste nor aroma. Dried cilantro is a commercial hoax and you should stay away from that.
  • If you have more than you can use, freezing cilantro is the preferred way to preserve leaves. First snip the leaves and stems finely then fill an ice cube tray with cilantro and very little water. Freeze. When frozen you can remove from the tray and store the cubes in a freezer bag. Flavor will be well preserved.
  • Seeds must be harvested when fully mature, and they should be air dried. Protect them from humidity, and they will last a couple of years. The flavor of cilantro seeds is much milder than the other parts of the plant. Avoid buying ground coriander when shopping. It is better to buy whole seeds and to roast them (without anything) in a frying pan or the oven for a few minutes. Grind them just before using.Cilantro seeds should be kept in a dry area in a sealed container.

Is dried cilantro equivalent fresh? Not as far as I am concerned, dried cilantro is worthless and should be avoided at all cost.

Health Benefits Of Cilantro

The health benefits of cilantro are many besides its reputation as an aphrodisiac, which is part truth and part legend. It is however considered that men who have prostate problems, can reduce the difficulty of sexual relations as it facilitates ejaculation.

Digestive and appetite stimulating properties are real. In addition cilantro can be anti-spasmodic, and useful in cases of stomach cramps, colics or diarrhea.

It is an antiseptic that can calm tooth aches. Made into a paste and applied topically, it is effective in the relief of joint pains, and hemorrhoids.

Some studies have shown that adding coriander seed extract to the food of diabetic mice, caused a reduction of their blood sugar levels. According to the scientists conducting the research coriander could be a food additive to control sugar levels in  people with diabetes. A human controlled study has not yet been done.

Caution

A few case of allergies to coriander have bee known, to insure you are not allergic, you can rub a little essential oil on your wrist, or rub a few crushed seeds.

You should also know that eaten in excess it can cause some depression following a period of hyper-activity.

It can also cause uterine muscle spasms and pregnant women should avoid it.

 

Nutritional values of cilantro

 


Nutrition Facts

Serving size  1/4 cup

Amount Per Serving

Calories 5                 Calories from fat 0

% Daily Value*

Total Fat  0g                                                 0%

        Saturated Fat 0g                                  0%

        Trans Fat 0g                                       

Cholesterol 0mg                                         0%

Sodium 34mg                                              0%

Total Carbohydrates 0g                            0%

        Dietary Fiber 0g                                    0%

        Sugars 0g                               

Proteins 0g    

Vitamin A         15%            Vitamin C           8% 

Calcium           0%              Folate                 2%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.




Fun Historical Facts About Cilantro

In the tomb of Tutankhamen, archeologists found traces of coriander seeds dating of about 1300 BCE.

According to the Torah,  (also known as the Ancient Testament) manna that Moses and the Israelites ate in the desert was like a coriander seed.   Exodus 16-31 16-33

We can trace the use of coriander all throughout antiquity. In Greece Aristophanes, who lived from 445 to 386 BCE, mentions aromatic herbs used by his contemporaries. Dionysos’ followers would resort to the use of coriander to dissipate the effect of hangovers, which were rather frequent at the time.

It is through the Romans’ invasions that coriander was sown in all the areas of Europe. In the first century Pliny the Elder, who died a few year later witnessing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, was the first to classify the plant as coriandrium.
In the middle ages, coriander was sold by charlatans as an aphrodisiacn and exorcists threw coriander seeds on the fire as they were known to chase demons.

Today, in Germany, coriander seeds are used in the preparation of sauerkraut.

Besides its appetite stimulating and digestive properties, coriander seeds have been use to make great liquor. They are used in the making of Chartreuse, a famous French liquor, and Izarra a Basque liquor.

Growing Cilantro - Planting Cilantro

If you sow cilantro near the end of spring, it should grow fairly easily. It requires a well drained soil and a good sunny location. If you want to use leaves more than seeds, clip flowers stems when they reach about 12 inches. This will stop blooms that normally slow down the production of leaves. Cilantro is fairly resistant to heat and even cold, but it does not tolerate total dryness, nor does it like to have roots soaking in a really wet soil.

To grow cilantro indoors you should choose the Vietnamese variety. It does not look the same but the taste is very similar and it grows well inside, whereas regular cilantro is rather difficult to accommodate.

Do not plant cilantro next to fennel as it will die. It does however grow well next to parsley or chervil, but you run the risk of grabbing one instead of the other as they look somewhat similar.

Harvesting cilantro seeds

should be done when they have completely ripened. Use a paper sack, inverted over the flower stems, tie the sack around the stems before cutting them. Cut the stems with scissors. This way you can suspend the bouquet with the flowers hanging in the paper sack. As the seeds fall off they will collect in the sack, where you will just have to gather them in a couple of weeks.

 

References:cilantro plant

Grieve M. A Modern Herbal, 1931. Botanical.com cilantro.
Encyclopedia Britannica. Parsley. Britannica.com
USDA nutritional information cilantro

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Lebanese Tabouleh Recipe – Exotic Easy Delicious

Recently at a ladies’ luncheon I served Lebanese tabouleh salad. (Sometimes spelled tabouli)
Everyone raved about it and were surprised to see the amount of green as opposed to the tabouleh they had before. They were also surprised to learn that this was one of the best way to eat parsley in a sufficient quantity to have any health benefits. See this post for parsley health benefits.
Since everyone wanted the recipe I decided to post it here.

Insert a box in a box

Lebanese Tabouleh Recipe
For 4 persons
Ingredients :
2. 5 to 3 oz bulgur wheat (also called bulghur, burghul or bulgar)
2 parsley bunches
1 mint bunch
½ cup lemon olive oil
4 tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Preparation

  • Cook bulgur wheat in a pan of salted boiling water as you would rice. Drain.
  • Place bulgur wheat in a large bowl in the refrigerator.
  • Dip tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds then rinse them under running cold water. (This will make the skin easy to remove)
  • Remove the skin from tomatoes and dice them very small.
  • Snip parsley and mint. (The most effective method is not to chop it but to snip with scissors in a bowl). If you use a lot of herbs you can also buy herb snipping scissors that are wonderful.
  • Take out the cold bulgur wheat from the fridge, add the peeled and diced tomatoes, the cut up parsley and mint.
  • Season with lemon olive oil.

My Tips

My tip: refrigerate before serving. Add lemon juice if you want.

A few words about tabouleh :

There are two schools of though about tabouleh and two original versions. Lebanese tabouleh and Algerian tabouleh. All other tabouleh recipes you might find are variations of one or the other. It is a dish that lends itself well to variations and people have often added whatever they had handy to create their own tabouleh recipe.
Lebanese tabouleh is lighter than Algerian tabouleh (depending on the amount of oil) because the primary ingredient is parsley and it actually contains very little wheat.

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Discover Parsley Health Benefits

While most of us are very familiar with parsley as a culinary herb, it has often been called a magical herb in virtu of its many health benefits.
Flat leaf parsley is more frequently used in cooking than curly leaves parsley. However, the nutritional benefits of both varieties are to be noted. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins C, minerals, oligo-elements and several other vitamins.

However, because we use it in small quantities it does not normally provide much benefits for our health. Even a minimal amount of parsley used regularly will help in enriching your diet with natural antioxidants.

Apigenin is the most important flavanoid in parsley. A research team from the University of Missouri found that it can affect certain kind of breast cancer associated with progestin (an hormone given to some women as part of hormone replacement therapy for menopause). This is also supported by specialists in Ayurvedic medicine, who recommend parsley to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.

Caution
ingesting large quantity of parsley can make blood more fluid and therefore it is counter indicated should you be taking anticoagulant medications (in such a case a stable source of vitamin K is recommended, since parsley contain large amounts of vitamin K it should be avoided). Other counter indications for parsley are pregnancy, cirrhosis of the liver and nephritis. NEVER use wild parsley as it is easily confused with poison hemlock.

External uses of parsley

Used in shampoo, it can prevent hair loss. You can make your own remedy to stop hair loss by crushing 100 gr. (about 3 ½ ounces) of parsley seeds, and apply this powder on your scalp. To simply make your hair shiny and strong boil a small bunch of parsley in mineral water for about 10 minutes. Filter and rub your scalp with this decoction once a day. Healthy hair guarantied.

This same decoction can be used on your face morning and night to get a beautiful skin. It will clear black heads and other skin blemishes.

30 mg of parsley every day is sufficient to provide the daily requirement of vitamin C. It should be noted that parsley contains more vitamin C than oranges, lemons or any other fruit.

Parsley medicinal benefits can help reduce symptoms in cases of:

Asthma
Bladder problems
Bloating
Cough
Digestion
Hypertension
Irregular menstruation
Kidney problems
Liver problems
Muscular spasms
Prostate problems
Rhumatisms
Water retention

How to use parsley for medicinal purposes
It can be cooked or added in a great variety of dishes (see parsley recipes), or it can be added in salads. For medicinal purposes it is however more frequently used in infusions or teas.

Hildegard of Bingen who is also known as Saint Hildegard was a middle ages Benedictine Abbess, a visionary and a very accomplished artist among other things. in 2012 the Pope declared her the 35th Doctor of the Church.

She was a mystic and wrote several manuals. One of her works that has endured through the ages is her herbal medicine Physica.

I would like to share with you one recipe from Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who had discovered parsley medicinal uses in the middle ages. She wrote:
“He who suffers from heart, spleen, or side pains, let him cook parsley in wine, add a little vinegar and just enough honey. Then he should filter this in a cloth and drink of this often. And this will heal him.” (PL 1159 A) From: ” Manuel de la médecine de Ste-Hildegarde”
Éditions Résiac by Dr. Gottfried Hertzka et Dr. Wighard Srtehlow, 1987

Parsley Wine

Here then is this famous recipe for Hildegard’s parsley wine:
1 to 2 tsp of dried parsley leaves for a cup of boiling water.
10 brins de persil frais
2 tbsp wine vinegar
5oz honey (cut in half for people with diabetes)
1 liter or quart bottle of white wine (organic)
Boil the wine, parsley and vinegar for 5 minutes. Add honey and boil again for 5 minutes. It is the boiling temperature that allows the different elements to combine and form what is known as a glycolic compound. Skim off the foamy top before storing in sterilized bottles. Use a tablespoon 3 times a day, after meals. Keep refrigerated.
Important: I offer this recipe for people who want to use it, and to note that parsley health benefits were prized long ago. Any disease, illness or pain that involve the heart should be treated by a doctor of your choice, and my recommendation is that this wine be used in supplement to whatever your doctor recommends.

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How To Grow And Use Chives

Common name: Chives
Scientific name: allium schoenoprasum

Uses of chives in foods Preserving chives 
Health benefits of chives Chives nutrition facts
Planting chives Chives fun historical facts

 

Chives (Alium fistulosum & Allium schoenoprasum) is a perenial aromatic and culinary herb that belongs to the Allium family. Usually the slender leaves are use raw or cooked, snipped finely to enhance with a delicate flavor of many dishes. Chives grow to about 12 inches and have lovely flowers that can be used as a decorative touch on serving platters or plates.

English is an interesting language and I should be remiss if I did not point out that chive (singular) refers to the plant and chives (plural) is always used when discussing the culinary herb.

Different varieties of chives

Chives belong to a family of plants that includes around 500 plants from which we mostly know onion, green onions, leeks, garlic and shallots. The varieties of chives we use most frequently are :

  • Garlic chives also known as Chinese chives. They have flatter and broader leaves. Taste a little more like garlic. They will reward you with beautiful whites flowers near September.
  • Onion chives are really scallions, that is immature green  onions.
  • Chives herbs (the most commonly grown in our homes and gardens, and the one we use when referring to the shorten reference: chives.

Uses of chives in foods

It is an indispensable herb in fine cooking. It has a flavor that is milder and more sophisticated than green onion, and it is so easy to grow, why would we want to avoid it.

  • When buying chives: color should be a nice dark green, stems should be firm and the characteristic perfume of chives should emanate.
  • Always snip chives with scissors as using a chopper tend to crush it and lessen the flavor.
  • If you plan on adding it to a hot dish, you should add it at the end of cooking time to preserve its flavor.

Use Chives in your cuisine as following:

 Fines Herbs baked eggs and chives : a traditional French seasoning mix recipe is composed of parsley, chives, chervil, and tarragon. It is a great accompaniment for omelets, green salads, chicken or poached fish.You can use chive in vinaigrettes, with raw vegetables, salads, canapés, cooked vegetables (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots). You can also enhance cream base sauces, and soups.In addition you can add a delicate flavor  to omelets, fish cakes, fish and shellfish, turkey, rice dishes, pizzas, fondues, gratins…

Chives flowers are also edible, and can be added to salad, meats and sauces to which they add a little color and much flavor.

 Flavored oils and vinegars  : You can seep fresh chives in oil for a period of 2 weeks to perfume another wise ordinary oil. To perfume vinegar, heat wine or cider vinegar and pour it over slightly crushed chives.

Green onions, shallots or leeks can be use as substitute for chives. However you should only use a chives substitute when you really cannot get the real thing, as there is nothing quite as delicate as the taste of chives.

How to preserve chives for later use? Can you freeze chives?

  • You can freeze chives very successfully. First wash and dry the leaves, then snip them and put them in small freezer bags.
  • Drying chives is the least favorable means to preserve fresh chives as much of the flavor is lost in the process. Nothing will match the savor of fresh leaves. You can really have a pot of fresh chives in your kitchen and never run out of this wonderful condiment. If you need to preserve cut stems for a couple of days, it is better to keep them in the fridge, placed on a tray between two layers of damp paper towel.

Health Benefits Of Chives

Health benefits of Chives 

Chives are rich in beta carotene, and antioxidants (prevention of cardiovascular disease). They contain B vitamins, and a fair amount of vitamin C as well as mineral salts. However considering the small quantity that we eat often much less than an ounce, it does not really affect our well being. All I can recommend is that you grow some chives and eat them as often as you can. The good thing is that since they do not have any calories to speak of so you can pile them on as much  as you wish. So do yourself a favor and use more chives and less salt.

They are anti-bacterial and fungicidal.

They also stimulate appetite and digestion. They are diuretic and stimulate blood circulation.

Nutritrional values of chives – Chives nutrition facts

 


Nutrition Facts

Serving size 1 cup (60g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 22                     Calories from fat 4

% Daily Value*

Total Fat  0g                                                 1%

        Saturated Fat 0g                                  0%

        Trans Fat 0g                                       

Cholesterol 0mg                                         0%

Sodium 34mg                                              1%

Total Carbohydrates 4g                            1%

        Dietary Fiber 2g                                    8%

        Sugars 2g                               

Proteins 2g    

Vitamin A     101%            Vitamin C      133% 

Calcium           8%            Iron                    2%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


 

A Brief History Of Chives

Chives through the ages 

More than 5000 years ago the Chinese were already cultivating a plant similar to today’s chive that they used not only in cooking but also as a natural anti venom and to prevent hemorrhages. It was not until the 16th century and Marco Polo’s expeditions that it was introduced in Europe. Soon it became known as “appetites” for its appetite stimulating qualities. It first grew around the Mediterranean, but it easy adaptability made it a good traveler, and it spread to the rest of the world.

In Holland, it was sown in the meadows, to add a little perfume to cow’s milk.


How To Grow Chives - Planting Chives

Growing chives from seeds is possible, you can either buy seeds in stores or let your own plants produce seeds for propagation.

To successfully keep your chives in pot through the winter, you must bring them in. They do make a great kitchen plant and thrive near a window.

Chives diseases and pests

Onion flies: leaves will fade and yellow, and the plant will grow slowly. To prevent onion flies you can use an organic insecticide on still healthy plants and remove those that are too far affected to be saved.

Rust: sometimes leaves will show orange spots. Remove these plants and grow a different species in this pot or spot. Choose a new location to grow a new chives plant.

Harvesting chives

Harvesting chives can be done year round by cutting leaves as you need them.

Cut flower before they go to seed, if you plan on using them in your salads as they are delicious to eat.

References:

Grieve M. A Modern Herbal, 1931. Botanical.com chives.
Encyclopedia Britannica. chives. Britannica.com
USDA nutritional information chives

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