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How to Grow Your Own Garlic Chives

(post, Jill McKeever)

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How many times have you reached into your pantry and pulled out a bulb of garlic that's sprouting?

Have you ever heard or read where we're not suppose to eat the green shoot inside our garlic cloves?  Well, it's true what they say, that premature green shoot produces a bitter flavor when it's cooked.  Now you can remove that premature shoot and use the remaining clove as intended, if you don't have fresher garlic.

However, before you start cutting, try growing your own garlic chives.  They are super easy to grow right from your kitchen window with just a little water in the bottom of a cup or bowl.

Garlic chives are very mild in flavor.  Initially, the bite of garlic that hits your palate is unmistakably garlic but it doesn't hang long, compared to eating a fresh garlic clove that will stay with you for hours and hours, even after you've brushed your teeth.

Place the budding clove or whole bulb in a small cup or bowl.  Using a clear container really helps you see when the water needs to be changed and you can watch the roots grow.  Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the cup and touches just the bottom of the cloves.  Do not submerge the cloves or the water will become cloudy, smelly and the cloves will begin to rot.  Not good.

The garlic cloves will begin producing roots very quickly after a few days.  It's good practice to change out the little bit water in the cup or bowl when it begins to look slightly cloudy, which is every couple of days.  Soil is not required because the green shoots rising up are getting all their nutrients from the individual cloves.  Plenty of light and fresh water will do nicely.

You can begin harvesting garlic chives when the shoots are 3-inches tall; there could be 2 to 3 shoots growing out of each clove.  Try not to remove more than a third of the growing blades.  The green blades capture energy from the sun to grow taller.  Much like a green onion, garlic chives grow from within the a single sprout.  Cutting the main sprout back down to the clove will not produce more shoots.  Chives will grow as tall as 10-inches if left alone.

Use sharp kitchen scissors to snip off just what you need for your recipe. Two-inches of a chive blade can roughly make 1 tablespoon of chives.

Ideally, their flavor is best appreciated eaten fresh.  Garlic chives are excellent on top of baked potatoes, green salads, vegetable salads, or stirred into egg salads, pasta salads, dips, and as a quick garnish over hummus or guacamole.

Choose a sunny spot, if you have it, a little shade is okay.  You can plant garlic cloves directly in the soil about an inch deep and see chives growing up after a couple of weeks.  If you want to move the sprouted cloves from indoors to the outside, they should transplant into the soil just fine.  Plant each clove 4 to 6-inches apart.  Keep the soil moist, not soggy, for a couple of weeks, allowing time for the roots to adjust to taking up water from the soil on their own.  Garlic is tough and easy to grow. Harvest the chives the same as directed above, removing only a third of the blade tops or remove one whole blade, if other blades are growing out of the same clove.

Just have fun growing them.  It's more fun than painstakingly removing small sprouts out of each clove and it's way better than tossing all that potential in the garbage.