Correct Way to Harvest Chives Without Killing the Herb Plant

Wanted to share this tidbit of “harvesting trivia” on chives – garlic and regular.

During HerbFest I’ve noticed when I talk about “cutting chives” there are lots of people who are surprised to learn that chives are not to be cut from the top but the bottom of the plant base.

Let’s say you’re doing a baked potato and only need a smidget of chives so you don’t want to cut the entire stalk down so you snip across the top harvesting only what you are going to use. What you just did was kill the stalk from where you cut to the ground, which is waste and also not good for the plant.

Here’s what you need to do…

  • Cut from the base the number of stalks you need.
  • Now cut from the top of the stalks harvested the amount you need tonight
  • Chop them, but do not chop the remainder of the chive stalk or you release the oils which is what you are after for flavor and fragrance
  • Take the remaining stalks and put in freezer bag and put in freezer
  • Next time you need chives remove stalks from freezer and chop which release oil you had saved in stalk by not cutting up upon original harvest.

This process also encourages the chives to expand their base and you get more chives year after year.

It should also be remembered that chive blossoms are edible flowers but be careful to eat the garlic chive blossom hesitantly as it’s more garlicky than garlic itself!!