Chive Blossoms Mystery Shopper

Not your average edible flower.

Not your average edible flower.

What is it? When you buy fresh onion chives at the grocery store, chances are the best part is missing: the fluffy, amethyst-hued flowers on top. Chive blossoms are easy to spot in their natural habitat, bursting forth in Midwest gardens and neighbors’ backyards in spring and early summer, lining the grass with fragrant purple puffs and filling the air with the unmistakable scent of sweet spring onion. Take a stroll through any park this time of year, and you’re bound to stumble across a cluster. You're also likely to see them at farmers' markets in June.

What do I do with it? Unlike garlic chive flowers, which are smaller, white and potent, onion chive blossoms are mild in flavor and easy to slide into even the most delicate dishes. Whip them into softened goat cheese to spread on crostini with charred vegetables, or keep it simple and blend the blossoms into cream cheese to top an everything bagel; it’s perfection. If you’re sautéing asparagus, haricot verts or peas, add whole chive blossoms and a knob of butter during the final minutes to finish. Potato and onion are an irresistible pairing; chop the flowers into a cheesy gratin or blend into a simple mash. Chive butter is prettier with the blossoms added: Blend and use it to finish grilled steak, chicken, halibut or swordfish.

I can’t do summer without crispy fries or bright salads, and chive-blossom vinegar is perfect with either. The soft lilac-colored vinegar provides a muted dose of flavor to any dressing – and on fries? You’ll forget malt vinegar entirely. It’s also an ideal way to enjoy chive blossoms long after the last petals have hit the ground.

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Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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