Chives are one of the most popular herbs which look and taste similar to onions, but they are hardly used at their true value. Unlike the onion chives, Geisha Garlic resembles more with… garlic.
Origin and Short History of Chives
Chives are considered both native from the old continent and the New World. There are Chinese recipes which recorded the plant in ancient writings almost 5000 years ago. Romans considered it diuretic and its juice was used for sore throat or sunburn.
It is also believed to be native from UK, but it is rarely found in its wild form. It grows particularly in the Alps and rocky pastures from the Northern hemisphere are conducive to its natural development.
Having a repellent effect it has been used along the time like a magical plant. People started to use chives against evil spirits in charms and incantations. Dried bundles of garlic and chives were hung around the home to keep diseases away.
Garlic Geisha chives look a little bit different than the onion chives. They have flat, wide leaves, like the spring garlic, while the onion ones have tubular leaves. You may see another difference in the flowers: Garlic Geisha has white flowers, with a star shape, unlike the traditional chives which have pink or lilac color.
Chives are rich in nutrients and low in calories. They have a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The allicin content of the plants from this family is known to have antibacterial properties, making chives a good disinfectant and fungicide, although to a lesser extent than garlic or onion.
Chives can relax the stomach in case of indigestion and help prevent heart disease. Just a spoonful of chopped chives ensure 3% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A and vitamin C. They contain small amounts of vitamin K, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and choline, a vitamin that is involved in fatty acid and glucose degradation, brings benefits for sleep, memory and muscle development.
The entire Allium family contains sulfur compounds, having proven effect in the treatment or prevention of certain cancers such as stomach, esophagus or prostate. Folates contained in the chives can help treat depression by increasing the production of serotonin, known as “happiness hormone” and dopamin which affects mood, sleep and appetite.
Garlic Geisha has a slightly different taste from the traditional garlic, described as “more refined”. Nevertheless it can be used in stir-fries, soups and garnishes and in almost all savory dishes that you want to cook.
It is advisable to add them to the end of cooking, when the temperature is low, to take advantage of all the benefits of this flavored plant. Use a sharp knife to cut the stems to avoid breaking them so the flavor is preserved as well.
You may store chives in the refrigerator for about a week.
This plant fits into many spring recipes, and was embraced by many European cuisines for the freshness it brings into foods. It finds its place in a lot of dishes from fish sauces to soups.
In China, chives are often used in combination with egg dumplings, shrimp or pork.
In French cuisine, chives are combined with other herbs such as parsley and tarragon for garnish or as taste enhancers.
What can you cook with chives?
Sauces, dressings and salty creams
You can mix chives with yogurt, goat cheese, feta cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese or sour cream to make a healthy dip for vegetable chips.
Another way to use Garlic Geisha is to prepare a flavored butter, by combining it with other herbs.
Classic vinaigrettes may be brought to life with some Garlic Geisha chives. You can combine it with tarragon and rosemary for a Provencal taste. It fits with creamy dressing and cheese (cheddar, blue cheese, feta). Or you can prepare a sauce with Dijon mustard and sour cream and serve it near tasty chicken or beef.
Soups and salads
Chives add a subtle garlic flavor in vegetable cream soups because its taste suits the tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. It also works well with chicken soup, minestrone or bean soups.
A delicious salad can be made out of tomatoes, eggs, tuna and fresh Garlic Geisha leaves.