I love cooking with fresh herbs. It is almost always a necessity in my kitchen, especially fresh chives. These flavorful and delicious perennial herb takes any type of food to a whole new level once their stems and flowers are chopped and added.
Unfortunately, refrigerating them only keeps them fresh for 10 to 14 days before they start to wilt and die, losing all their abundant flavor. That’s why, drying fresh chives is absolutely the best way to keep them from wilting and retaining their taste and smell for up to 2 years!
Can I dry chives?
Yes. You can absolutely dry chives at the comfort of your own home, easily and successfully. In fact, there are three different drying techniques where you can dry your chives, extend their shelf life, and guarantee the retention of their best flavor and taste for future use.
- Air dry by hanging
Choosing the best way to dry your fresh chives depends on the atmospheric temperature. Chives need a warm and dry climate to successfully and fully dry. So, if the climate is more or less humid, then drying fresh chives using your oven or food dehydrator is more suitable than air drying.
Keep in mind, humidity and moisture can cause fresh chives to be moldy since they won’t actually dry.
What are the types of chives?
Chives are very close to onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks. However, they have a slightly less abundant flavor, which makes them perfect in most of the sauces and Italian dishes without being too much.
Usually the long green whole leaves are the part that is used in the chives. They are thinly sliced and added as garnish in soups, stews, dressings, dips, eggs and fish dishes. However, stalks and flowers are also used. In fact, flowers distinguish different types of chives. Chinese chives, with white flowers, have a garlic-y taste which is used as garnish and tossed in salads. While chives with light purple flowers have a taste closer to onions.
How to dry chives?
Before we go on with the exact steps of drying for each method. There is an important step that needs to be done prior to drying with any of the three methods.
- Start by washing your fresh chives with cold water to remove any dirt or excess soil.
- Pat your chives dry with a dry cloth until all the excess water is removed.
- Remove any yellow or moldy chives from your batch.
1. Air dry by hanging:
Although it might seem like a lengthy and time consuming method, since it does take about two weeks to be completely done. Yet, it is considered the best drying method for your fresh chives. It keeps its perfect flavor.
Divide your batch into loose bundles formed of medium-sized portions. Tie each bundle from their stems with a rubber band. Don’t tightly tie them so that they are exposed to air and have an even airflow that will sufficiently dry them.
Now that your chive bundles are ready, wrap each bundle loosely with a brown paper bag. Poke holes in the paper wrap so that air can reach the chive bundles.
This helps in protecting the chives from dust and discoloration while also allowing air to dry them. Don’t use plastic bag as it will isolate the chives from air.
Place all the wrapped bundles in a dry, lighted place that has good air circulation away from any direct sunlight or warm heat.
The average drying time using this method is two weeks. You will need to check your chives every three days to see whether there is any moldy growth. You will know when your dried chives are ready once the leaves break between your two fingers.
Remove the wrap around your bundle once they are ready, then using a knife or just your fingers, crumble the leaves into tiny pieces. This should be an easy step if your chives are completely dry.
Pack your dried small pieces of chives inside glass mason jars or a clear airtight container with a lid. Label the container with the date of storage and the contents of the jar so that you can distinguish it from the other spices. Store it in a cool, dry location.
Start by preheating your oven to 185 °F (80 °C). It is preferable to set the temperature of the oven to the lowest possible temperature. So if your oven has an option less than 185 °F (80 °C), it would be even better.
Using a pair of scissors or a sharp knife, cut your cleaned chives leaves into ¼-inch pieces. Spread the cut pieces of chives in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Transfer the tray with the chives to the oven and leave it for 1 to 2 hours until the chives dry out. Check them every 10 minutes or so to make sure they are not burning. You will know they are ready once the leaves are brittle and break between your fingers.
Pack your dried, tiny pieces of chives inside a mason jar or a clear airtight container with a lid. Label the container with the date of storage and the contents of the jar so that you can distinguish it from the other spices. Store it in a cool dry place.
3. Food dehydrator:
This is considered the easiest method. All you need to do is just clean and chop your fresh chives as you normally would following the oven method. Spread the cut leaves on the lined tray and place the tray inside the food dehydrator. Set it at 90 °F (32 °C). Before starting it, place another tray over the tray with the chives so that they don’t fly everywhere once you start your dehydrator.
It shouldn’t take you longer than an hour to completely dry.
Frequently asked questions:
Now that you know everything you need to know about drying your fresh chives, time to share with you some related questions that I came across while I was searching for this subject.
Can I dry my chives in the microwave?
Generally speaking, you can use your microwave to dry the fresh chives. However, it is not the best method to keep the flavors of your chives intact.
You will need to align your chopped chives on a paper towel and cover them with another clean paper towel, then move them to the microwave and leave them for about 20 seconds on high heat. Repeat this step and check your chives every 10 seconds until they are dry and ready.
How long do dry chives last?
If they are both dried and stored properly, then expect them to last with perfect quality for 1 to 3 years.
Can I dry chive flowers?
Yes. You can certainly dry chive flowers.
Separate the flowers from the stems. Place them on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in a warm and dry area away from the sunlight. Allow them to slowly dry for a week or so while turning them every other day.
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