Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chive Blossom Vinegar

When faced with thousands of beautiful chive blossoms I think, what do we do with them? They make pretty garnishes on plates, and whimsical additions to salad when torn up.
The couple who run Maitland Mountain Farm in Salem have a lot of chives. They are sold at markets, used in flower arrangements. Chives also act as practical landscaping on the farm, maybe keeping away some insects or bunny rabbits, and most definitely serving as erosion prevention where they are planted. 
In the spring they come up with loads of spherical purple blossoms. 
We made a large batch of infused vinegar, nice to make oniony salad dressings for fresh greens. And, it's bright pink.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chive blossoms
White vinegar 
A wide container with a lid
A fine strainer
Nice clean jars to store the vinegar. 

Pick blossoms by spreading your fingers and running them through the chives, catching the blossoms. They will pop off the stalks to be caught in a fist. 

Wash the blossoms gently, bobbing up and down in a bowl of water. Or in my case, a huge sink. 

Strain blossoms, drip dry or spin in a lettuce spinner. 

Put the clean blossoms in a container where they fill up roughly 2/3 of the volume. Pour white vinegar in, to the top. Float a plate, or something, atop the flowers to keep them submerged, they will try to rise up and escape. Or, just put the lid on. 

Leave vinegar and chive blossoms together for 4 days to steep. It will turn bright pink and then a deeper magenta hue will develop. Keep covered well or you kitchen will smell strongly of onions. 

When the time has come to strain the entire project set up your fine strainer over a vessel to catch the strained vinegar. Use a funnel if you need to. I had to strain mine twice because the first strainer I chose filtered out the blossoms but not the tiny white seeds which float around. And the seeds look like wee insects if you didn't know what they were...so it's worth getting out a cheesecloth or a tea strainer for this case. 

Now you have plenty of jewel colored vinegar which is crystal clear. Put in pretty jars or mix up into salad dressing with olive oil. I'll put a recipe on here soon. 

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