Chive blossoms are more than just a pretty decoration at the end of an oniony stalk. These delicate purple blooms are edible. Pick whole blossoms by pulling gently at the base of the flower to pop off the entire bloom. Give them a quick rinse and dry on a paper towel or drying rack. You can even use a salad spinner.
After most of the bloom is dry (don’t worry about every drop of water evaporating), grasp the stem end in one hand and pluck out the tiny blossoms with the other. These individual blooms will pull out several at a time.
My favorite way to use chive blossoms is stir into mashed potatoes just after mashing. The blooms add a faint chive flavor plus a splash of color.
Another option is to include a handful in each layer of au gratin potatoes. The color stands out against the creamy white sauce and golden yellow cheese.
Salads are an additional tasty place to use these blooms. Sprinkle a few across the top of a green lettuce salad for an unusual color addition.
This year, the blooms are abundant and I experimented with freezing the blooms for later use. After washing and drying, pull apart the blooms. Spread in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for several hours or overnight. Pack in crush proof containers or freezer bags. After a week in the freezer, I tested some by sprinkling over grilled cheesy potatoes. Just like fresh picked. I expect to use these throughout the winter.
To make grilled potatoes:
Slice four to five medium potatoes onto a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Fold over the foil to seal tightly. Place over hot coals on charcoal grill turning occasionally for about 20 minutes. Remove from grill, open the packet and sprinkle with a half cup of shredded cheese and a handful of fresh or frozen chive blossoms. Close the packet for three to four minutes or until the cheese has melted.
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And try some chive blossoms….
A new look at weeds
A weed is a weed is a weed. Except when it is a useful tool around the Farm. We look at weeds differently now that we are living in the country and striving to be more sustainable.
Weeds as food
Certain weeds with attractive flowers are visited by bees collecting nectar. They also collect the pollen. Some people will tell you the honey made from classic allergen weeds such as ragweed and goldenrod helps reduce allergy symptoms. We have sold some honey to individuals using it specifically for this purpose. (Disclaimer: we are not purporting that our honey is an allergy treatment.) There was a time that we would have tried to eradicate all ragweed and goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and others to allow for more purposeful plants. Now we encourage these to be part of the landscape.
The same is true for some of the invasive shrubs. We do work to keep these under control but the wild olive, wild cherry and false honeysuckle are also beneficial to the bees.
Plants as decoys
We have learned through experience and observation that Japanese beetles prefer some weeds, e.g. pigweed to the vegetable plants. We reduce the weed level in the garden but do not eliminate entirely. This balance helps both the garden and the gardener. Chemicals are not needed to control Japanese beetles when they have a weed to eat.
At Five Feline Farm we eat our landscape.
It’s not what you think. We are not grazing on grass or nibbling the bark off trees. But there are a lot of things we do eat from the land.
Black raspberries and blackberries are abundant. In fact these are so plentiful, we have had to take some out to create pathways. The heavy rains this spring and summer produced plump berries. Most of the raspberries are now in the form of glistening jars of jelly. Blackberries are still on the cane but starting to ripen.
Not So Wild Things
The gardens are on display in the front of the property. These contain all of the typical garden fare for our consumption. Green beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, kale, potatoes, limas, beets and cowpeas fill one garden. The second garden has asparagus, pumpkins, sunflowers, tobacco and gourds. Some of these are ornamentals and yes, you read correctly…tobacco. More about non-smoking and non-chewing uses for tobacco in a later post.
Borders and Such
Around the edges of the driveway and back porch are the herb beds. Herbs are also in random landscaping across the farm. Basil, thyme and oregano are blooming now. The bees love the nectar and we use the leaves to season a variety of dishes. Other herbs include savory, lavender, mint, chives and curry. Herbs can serve an ornamental function as well as a culinary one.
What kinds of plants in your landscape provide food?
There are many things to love about spring time at Five Feline Farm.
Rain drops on Liliac buds
It just doesn’t get any better than this.