I use a lot of vinegar in my day to day cooking. Between quick vinaigrettes, a splash to add balance to different dishes and the array of pickles I regularly make, it’s a favorite item. I typically have between 5-7 varieties including apple cider, white wine, cheap balsamic, a spendier balsamic, rice wine and basic distilled white vinegar. I’m also working my way through a jar of blackberry vinegar I made last summer by steeping spent blackberry seeds in a basic vinegar.
Many months ago, I spotting mention of chive blossom vinegar somewhere out there on the wide, vast internet (sadly, I’m not sure where it was, so I can’t give credit for this brilliant idea). It planted itself into my brain and though I can lay no claim on any chives myself, I hoped again hope that I might be able to lay my hands on some blossoms this spring in order to make a batch.
Last week, a friend mentioned on Twitter that in the course of her work as a gardener, she composts so many herb cuttings that she should start an herb CSA. While the comment was off-hand and mostly kidding, I mentioned that I was always happy to adopt any herbs in need of a home. As luck would have it, she had access to wide swaths of chives and their blossoms. I’d get to make my vinegar after all.
Chive blossoms smell ever so gently of onion and when steeped for a week or two, they give both that fragrance and their light purple color over to the vinegar. The actual process is so easy that you don’t need an actual recipe.
Pick a generous number of chive blossoms. Soak them in cool water to remove any dirt or bugs that might have taken refuge inside the blossoms. Dry them well (salad spinners are great for this) and stuff them into a jar so that it is between 1/2 and 2/3 filled with blossoms (I used a half gallon jar). Fill the jar with white vinegar. Because I’m cheap, I used a basic distilled vinegar. If you’re fancier than I am, try white wine vinegar.
Let the blossoms steep in the vinegar for two weeks in a cool, dark place. When the time has elapsed, strain the vinegar and pour it into any jar you’d like. Use anywhere you think it would taste good.
How is springtime treating the rest of you? I’ve been enjoying the rhubarb and asparagus and am looking forward to the coming abundance of strawberries.
Oooh, Marisa! I bet it is gorgeous! Aren’t chive blossoms lovely? I love the subtle flavor of chives. If only I can get the Babylady to stop picking them all I can make some. (She walks around with a mouthful- greens hanging out most of the time in the garden).
I think spring might really be here- I saw the first swelling of strawberries- the size of my pinky nail, but still!
The are SO pretty! I love the image of your little one wandering around with greens hanging out of her mouth!
Beautiful photos! We have strawberries up the wazoo here in California, so I just made a batch of your strawberry vanilla jam – yum! My partner, who is somewhat skeptical of my new enthusiasm for canning stated, “I think this is the best strawberry jam I’ve ever had!” Thanks to your tasty recipe.
Too bad there’s no chive blossoms in our garden…
I’m so glad to hear that you like that strawberry jam recipe!
ummmmm….. why does this make me want to chive infuse vodka…… seriously inspired!
Ooo, that’s a fun idea!
LOVE this. My chives are blooming all over the place. I was going to make jelly, but I think I prefer this idea. Spring is very wet around my parts right now, but it means the garden is looking really lush!
I just made some this week, too, with my homemade white wine vinegar. Chive vinegar is my favorite vinegar ever. How can you not love something that color?
I know, it’s so gorgeous.
I find the price of vinegar to be just crazy! Any tips on buying gallons of less expensive vinegar?
If you have a natural food store in your area that offers sells vinegar in bulk, you could ask them about pricing for larger amounts. Also check out discount grocery stores, they sometimes have deals on vinegar that is past its best-by date. However, even old vinegar is really totally fine to use.
I love chive blossom vinegar. I have been waiting on my for days, they are just on the verge of opening!
This vinegar is totally inspired and inspiring. Thanks for the planting the seed in my head.
The Chive Vinegar certainly looks lovely! And I’m sure it will taste great, too! I would have never thought to try it. Thanks for sharing!
this picture made me smile. It reminds me of summer on Martha’s Vineyard 🙂 thanks for sharing.
Wow, I use chives, but I’ve never used the blossom. Never even thought of it. I’ll be trying it.
Just a random thought — a woman had mentioned her non-plastic, super easy salad spinner (which I have since adopted): put them in a pillowcase or wrap in a cloth napkin, and windmill it around your body. Note — do NOT attempt this in your kitchen, even if it doesn’t seem like there’s much water. 😛
I’ve done that, you definitely need to be outside otherwise you splash your entire kitchen with water. Another way to do it is to put whatever needs to be dried into a pillow case. Secure the end and put it in the washing machine on the spin cycle. It will spin all the water right out.
I use a lot of vinegar, too, and in particular I love rice vinegar.
I just started my very first herb garden, and was excited to see new shoots coming up when I got home yesterday! I’ll need to keep this in mind in case the harvest ever gets out of hand; between infused vinegar and infused oil, I should have a never-ending supply of embellished basics!
How have I not started making infused vinegars yet? Our chive plant (which is perhaps our greatest success in the garden, for reasons unclear to me) is sending up a terrific number of buds, so I should be needing this recipe very soon!
Spring has not been good to me so far this year. It has been cold and oh so wet. Then a frost the second week of May got some herbs, then it was 88 two days later, then it has rained every day since and back to highs in the low 50’s. Over 16″ of rain since April 1. Perennials and some volunteer lettuces and spinach are all that is growing here. Very little asparagus. Too cold. No fields planted. It is very scarey to think of famine.
Beautiful vinegar though. I’ll get my canoe out and paddle into the herb garden to get some.
That’s awesome! Infused oils and vinegars are ‘on the list,’ so I’ll need to keep this one in mind. Thanks for sharing.
I’m sure you know this, but you can make your own wine vinegar. Just pour it into a jar, cover the top with cheesecloth (or muslin) and screw the ring on. After about 4 weeks on the counter you’ve got great wine vinegar. We’re not big drinkers here so this is my favorite use for the inevitable 1/2 bottle of wine that is leftover after we have people over for dinner.
I never knew chives had such cute flowers. They look like little pom poms! I’m making the egg cups you posted on a while ago. This spring weather is making me think about fitting into my summer wardrobe. Time to eat a bit better. Thanks for the inspiration. I found some nice broccoli rabe to toss in.
with the return of our farm stand and csa spring foods are so delightfully everywhere!
i just picked up some rhubarb today and i have a question–in your vanilla rhubarb jam, could i substitute a little balsamic vinegar for some of the lemon juice? would it still be okay on the acid level? i think it would taste so good, but is that crazy?
also, if the rhubarb is still a bit green, is it okay to use the green parts or will they be unbearably bitter? i just couldn’t wait a few more weeks for the all-over pink stalks…
I just made some myself, but was unable to post pictures due to computer and camera issues…I love the color of the lovely vinegar…can’t wait for a little on my salad.
Hi Marissa: Just in time for my chives that have dared to raise their little heads in this nasty spring. Can’t way to try. Looking forward to your cookbook, my pressure canner arrived yesterday, I went with the Presto per your recc, can’t wait to see your recipes and try it out. My darling hubby and I both have been unemployed for 2 and 1 1/2 years respectively, after long careers, and every penny counts. Hope this cooker will help. BTW, I bought the 8 qt. Hugs! Lisa
Hi. I’m new to your site and I love it. I have garlic chives in my garden and now thanks to you I can make it to good use. I will definitely try the egg cups too.
Just found your blog through Homestead Revival and so glad I did! I’m so excited to have found a use for all the blossoms I get on my chives! Yay! How long will this keep? You just store it in a covered mason jar?
Love your space here!
Just found your blog/site from an announcement of the winners of the Saveur Best Food Blog war on Facebook! Congrats! Great site. And, since it’s snowing outside, it will be a few weeks before I make this chive vinegar – but I can see I’ll be coming back often -love your info.
Ooo, I can’t wait to try this. Those photos make my rainy day. I would love to wake up to those chive blossoms in the colander pasted to my ceiling.
Hi! I just picked up some chive blossoms at the farmers market because I remembered this post. Would white balsamic be ok to use? Thats all I have in the kitchen at the moment. Thank you!
Yum yum – I’ve been making tarragon vinegar, fantastic on asparagus and splashed over leafy greens.
This looks BEAUTIFUL! I feel like I need to go out right now and scavenge for some chives!
It’s amazing how different the weather is in different parts of the country. I know it’s a given, but it always amazes me. Strawberry season is mostly finished in East Tennessee, and rhubarb has been long gone. We’ve already had some 90-plus degree days here! I can’t wait to move to a cooler climate…
The chive blossom vinegar looks and sounds wonderful, though. And a great recipe for those new to canning and preserving.
Marisa: Now I know exactly what I’m doing with all those blossoms about to pop in my garden. Hope to see you soon!
brilliant. I never imagined doing this. I will try it out during my past time.
this is awesome- i made a jar two years ago and am still using it! (clearly i don’t use it enough). i also made some raspberry infused vinegar and hope to try other flavors this summer- maybe more herbs…
I’m really excited. Just catching up on my reading and was thrilled to see your chive vinegar. I have a some beautiful blossoms and had no idea what to do with them. Problem solved..Thanks.
wow I never thought about useing the flowers for anything. I just like looking at them. so I picked 2 cups worth from my plant and I made a pint day 1 the vinager turn light pink day 2 a litte darker I still need to check today but it looks good so far.
Just put some in a jar. My husband is a doubter, but I have a feeling he’ll come around! Thanks for the great idea!
I can’t wait to try this vinegar recipe!!! That dressing looks great! And what a beautiful food blog you have! Thanks
The chives in my girlfriend’s herb garden are going crazy with blossoms and I can’t wait to try this. One question: why do you need to strain out the blossoms when they look so pretty in the vinegar? Do they eventually start to discolor? Or would they otherwise make the vinegar too strong? Or is it just to make the vinegar easier to use?
You strain them out to prevent over-infusion and to ensure that the vinegar doesn’t get cloudy. It’s also easier to use if the flowers aren’t in it.
I love this vinegar and make it every year.
I knew I’d seen this posted last year and grew out my chives on purpose to make a bottle. Yay for being able to find it again without bookmarking.
My chives are just ready t6o bloom, so I will have to try this. I’m also interested in the blackberry vinegar you mentioned–how do you make that? Sounds interesting.
After reading this post, I ransacked the community garden project for chive blossoms. I felt a bit furtive, sneaking around with my scissors. Now I have a gorgeous jar of vinegar steeping in my basement. I can’t wait to use it!
Thanks for the idea! My nephew and I put a batch of chive vinegar together today and we’re excited to see how it comes out.