In some countries you’ll find a pot of fresh chives standing in the middle of the dinner table beside the salt and pepper pots.
Great though it looks, it’s not just for decoration – the chives, too, are a seasoning. And the freshest (and hence the most vitamin-packed) possible! Once the food’s arrived, a quick trim with scissors enables each diner to sprinkle this zingy onion-flavoured herb straight onto their meal.
Chopped chives are an attractive garnish, adding visual appeal to many paler-coloured dishes such as omelettes, potatoes and pasta. Their mild flavour complements a host of savoury recipes, and they also add punch to salads or cheese on toast – a good way to introduce the taste of onion to your little ones.
Why not start a family tradition and grow your own fresh pot of chives for the meal table? Sowing the seed is a fun and easy activity for the children, and they’ll feel proud to have produced something they can eat. As well as giving an opportunity to learn about how seeds germinate and grow, table chives are also an object lesson in healthy eating and nutrition. Here’s how to do it …
What you need :
- a suitable pot
- growing medium
- a packet of chive seeds
What you do :
- fill the pot with growing medium and moisten
- your child might like to personalise the pot with a funny face in felt pen
- sprinkle the chive seeds on top, then cover with another thin layer of growing medium
- water the seeds in, then stand the pot on the kitchen windowsill
- don’t let the pot dry out – keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged
- the seeds will germinate in around 10 days
- when the grass-like leaves are about 5” tall, bring the pot to the table and start trimming! Chives love a haircut, and the more you snip the stronger they’ll grow
Chives are a perennial. Once the pot’s died back and starts looking straggly, plant the contents in a corner of your garden. They’ll grow back each year, and you can start a fresh pot from seed again. Chives are very versatile, and even their bushy lilac flowers are edible – try adding those to a salad for a splash of pizzazz!