Oh my goodness. The aroma, that of a delicately sweet, oniony, slightly vinegary scent released as heated liquid pours over jars filled with fresh-from-the-garden chive blossoms. Absolutely wonderful! The first harvest of the season from the Happy Valley Community Gardens, Garden Nbr. 01, chive blossoms, one of those early bursts of spring color in the garden. While these lavendar colored, fluffy pompom-shaped flowers are great tossed into a salad or a bowl of soup, they make one of my favorite herb infused vinegars. A great way to preserve some of those herbs that seem to grow wild and crazy in the garden, herbal vinegars are extremely easy to make. About all there is to making some is to cut and wash the herbs.
Then simply stuff a bunch of the herbs into sterilized jars and fill the jars the rest of the way up with a good quality vinegar. When I make Chive Blossom Vinegar, I like to heat the vinegar before I pour it into the jars because the chive flavor is released almost instantly into the vinegar that way. Immediately after filling the jars with the hot vinegar, the color of the chive blossoms change from light lavendar to a very pretty deep, deep pink, purple.
If you want to skip the step of heating the vinegar, your herbal vinegars will turn out just fine though, because, either way, the jars of herbs and vinegar need to sit and steep for two or three weeks before their flavor has totally enfused. Maybe the reason I heat the vinegar is simply because I so enjoy that sense of instant satisfaction when that chivey aroma fills the air once the hot liquid hits the herbs.
The chive blossom stems are quite tasty too and I save them after cutting off the chive blossoms, chop them up and package them for the freezer. Used directly from the freezer, they are a great addition to almost any cooked sauce, soup, stew, rice or potato dish.
Chive Blossom Vinegar can be used almost anytime wine, plain vinegar, lemon or lime juice is called for in a recipe. When added to a bottled barbecue sauce, it turns a possibly boring sauce into a fresh-tasting addition to the grill. My favorite use for Chive Blossom Vinegar though is as the base for a vinaigrette dressing. I use one part chive blossom vinegar to two parts olive oil, sometimes toss in a few other fresh herbs from the garden, shake it up and drizzle it over a bowl of garden-fresh salad fixings. Even better, try this Chive Blossom Vinegar dressing as a dipping sauce for homemade artisan bread fresh from the oven. Wonderful!