At the store, dried organic chives cost at least $6.00 for a little .14-ounce bottle, and fresh ones are at least $4.00 for a tiny bunch. I’ll show you how you can grow your own chives and preserve them for a year-round staple in your kitchen for a fraction of the cost. I put chives on everything so I can’t even imagine how much money I would spend if I bought them all the time. I cook with chives and pile fresh ones on everything from soups and salads to pizzas and potatoes.
Chives are extremely easy to grow in the garden and they’re a perennial, so they grow back after the winter. In fact, they may even be invasive if they’re not divided at some point during the late summer or early fall. You can then plant them in containers or give them as gifts. Here are some quick tips from Organic Gardening on planting chives.
If you’re overwhelmed with fresh chives, you don’t have to let any of them go to waste. You can preserve them to use year-round…and you’re not going to be spending $6.00 for a .14-ounce bottle! My uncle gave me the tip of freezing them as opposed to drying them because their flavor is retained even better that way. Here’s how to do it!
To harvest chives, simply take a bunch of about a dozen stems in your fist and cut two inches above the ground using a pair of sharp scissors. Leaving at least two inches at the bottom of the plant allows for the best regrowth. You just want to keep an eye on your plants and harvest them while the stems are still soft and hollow. It’s also important to remove flowers as soon as they appear to encourage regrowth.
Wash your chives thoroughly immediately after harvesting. I just put them in a colander and spray them with cold water. I shake the water out and blot them gently with a clean towel to remove most of the excess water.
3. Air Dry
These last two tips are my uncle’s. Using your sharp scissors, trim the chives into 1/4″ pieces or smaller if you desire. Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the cookie sheet outside in the fresh air for an hour or two to air dry the chives. The goal here is to make sure the moisture evaporates so the chives don’t stick together when you freeze them. They will still be fresh.
Place the chives into a freezer bag. Try to keep them in a single layer. Press all of the air out of the bag, then seal it. You can roll the bag up or keep it flat in the freezer; whichever way you prefer in order to reserve space. We usually use them within six months. Just remove the amount you need from the freezer; there’s no need to thaw before cooking because the skin is so thin.
Keep harvesting and preserving your chives for as long as your garden’s growing season lasts!
This is one of my family’s favorite chicken recipes because they love its savory-sweet flavor. I love it because it literally takes five minutes to prepare and it’s super healthy. It’s a good source lean protein from chicken, as well as healthy fats from olive oil and coconut oil from the marinade. It’s a great recipe to have on hand for busy weeknights! Serve it up with vegetables and a salad for a hearty but light meal.
- 3 tablespoons organic lime juice
- 4 organic chicken breasts
- Zest from 1 organic lime
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons melted organic coconut oil or butter (I use virgin coconut oil for a healthy alternative to butter, and I like the subtle coconut flavor combined with lime)
- 1 teaspoon dried organic thyme leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, melted coconut oil or butter, thyme, garlic and black pepper to a large measuring cup and stir well.
- Place chicken breasts in a small baking dish.
- Pour marinade over chicken breasts, making sure they're coated well.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked to 165 degrees F.
The chicken can also be prepared on the grill. Just coat the chicken breasts with marinade and periodically brush with remaining marinade while grilling.
Did you know that the average homemade jam canning recipe calls for 5 cups of sugar? The store-bought kind also most often contains excess sugar and additives. Our recipe for organic blueberry lime jam will show you tips to reduce the sugar content while enhancing the natural flavor of the fruit. If you’re new to canning, this recipe is also a step-by-step tutorial to help you get started! Canning is making a huge comeback because it’s an economical way to stock our pantries with real food free of chemical additives, as well as to enjoy every bit of our garden harvest year-round. Community gardens, canning classes and groups are becoming more and more common. It’s easy to find inexpensive canning supplies at just about any store.
Here’s a list of basic supplies, which can be found at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond or online at Amazon.com.
- Water bath canner with rack
- Minimum of six 8-oz jelly jars for this recipe
- Tattler BPA-free reusable lids and rings
- Ladle and funnel for filling jars
- Jar tongs for lifting jars in and out of water bath
- Canning spatula for removing air bubbles from filled jars
Sugar is drastically reduced in this recipe by using Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The combination of pectin and sugar is what jells the jam. Pomona’s jells with less sweetener than other types of pectin, so the amount of sugar required is much less. You can taste the natural flavors of blueberries and lime as opposed to them being masked by tons of sugar. Pomona’s Universal Pectin is 100% natural and contains no sugar or preservatives.
Tip if you’re canning with really young kids: I found out the hard way that it’s helpful to have another adult nearby to help out. It’s tough to divide your attention between hot pots on the stove and little ones in the kitchen.
- 5 cups organic blueberries
- 1/4 cup organic lime juice (it takes about 3 limes to make 1/4 cup of juice)
- 1 tablespoon organic lime zest
- 2 teaspoons calcium water (calcium powder is included in the box of Pomona's Pectin)
- 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin
- Wash blueberries thoroughly and remove stems.
- Wash and dry jars, then sterilize by placing on a clean cookie sheet in a 225-degree oven for a minimum of 20 minutes. Leave jars in the oven until you're ready to fill them.
- Prepare your water bath by filling it 3/4 full with water, then cover and bring to a boil.
- Heat jar lids and rings to 180 degrees in a saucepan. Keep at 180 degrees until you're ready to use.
- Make calcium water by mixing 1/2 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (found in your Pomona's box) and set aside. You'll only need 2 teaspoons, but the rest will keep for months in the refrigerator.
- Zest limes to make 1 tablespoon and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir well to combine sugar and pectin and set aside.
- Add blueberries to a large dutch oven over medium/high heat and lightly mash just to release juices. Stir in lime juice, zest and calcium water.
- Bring to a full rolling boil and stir in sugar/pectin mixture. Stir vigorously and constantly for two minutes, bringing back to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat off as soon as the jam reaches a full boil after the sugar/pectin is added.
- Using your jar tongs, remove one hot jar from the oven and set on the counter on top of a clean towel.
- With your ladle and funnel, fill jar to 1/4" from the top with jam.
- Repeat for the rest of the jars.
- Once all of your jars are filled, take a damp clean washcloth and wipe all jar rims clean. They won't seal if there is any jam residue on them.
- Take your spatula and run it along the inside edges of the jars to remove air bubbles.
- Remove lids from warm water and set them on tops of the jars. Tattler ring seals go underneath the white lids.
- Screw metal rings on each jar while holding lid on with one finger. The metal ring needs to be just tight enough to hold the lid on.
- Carefully set jars into the water bath rack using your jar tongs. Hold onto the handles of the rack and lower it into the water. Water should be about 1" above jars.
- Cover and boil for exactly 15 minutes.
- It's important to make sure the water doesn't boil over. Reduce heat if it boils too vigorously to avoid jars breaking.
- Remove each jar from water bath using jar tongs.
- Tighten metal rings.
- Each white lid will appear concave if it's sealed correctly. Jam jars that don't seal need to be refrigerated and eaten within 2 weeks.
- Cool jars for at least 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark place. They can be stored for 1 year.