I wouldn’t be without my chives – a very easily grown perennial that adds interest to a whole variety of dishes from early April right through to October.

Although a member of the onion family, chives have a sweet flavour entirely their own. A catalogue of how to use them would be endless: they turn up in very many dishes, but one of my favourite ways of serving them is to add a couple of heaped tablespoons to 5 fl oz (150 ml) of soured cream, and to pour this over halved jacket potatoes.Don’t chop chives– keep them in bunches and use scissors to snip them into small pieces. They can be deep-frozen for the winter by placing them in a sieve, pouring boiling water over to blanch them, then cooling them under a cold tap. Dry them as thoroughly as possible and freeze in sealed polythene bags.

Dried chives don’t work at all, but if you can get hold of a clump (or seeds) of Welsh onion, scallion, or green onion (which all look like spring onion tops) you’ll find these go on all through the winter. Although they have a slightly stronger flavour, they’re suitable for any recipe that calls for chives.

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