Without a doubt, Chives are the absolute easiest herb to grow. They are native to Siberia and Southeast Asia. A member of the onion family, Chive plants have narrow, tubular leaves that are delicious snipped fresh into any dish where onions are used. If you let them grow too long, they will produce pretty lavender blooms. Hardy plants need just a little care and love indoors.
Most people recognize them as those little, jade-green sprinkles on their baked potatoes in restaurants. Chives are a common sight in gardens or along walkways; they are cultivated for both their ornamental and culinary properties. Chives go where the others are unwelcome. No onion or garlic breath from this lovely cousin. No tearful chopping or tedious peeling, just snip away at the deep green grass-like fronds. Yet you still get a mild onion flavour that goes so well with eggs, potatoes and fish.
Chives add a dash of flavour and elegance to many different foods. Chives are best used fresh, but may be frozen. Fresh, they can be chopped fine and added to butters (great for corn on the cob), soft cheeses, and salads. Chives are often used as part of "Fines Herbs". This blend of finely chopped fresh herbs is usually made up of equal parts of three or four of the following: Basil, Chervil, Chives, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, or Thyme; and is usually added at the end of cooking so that the delicate flavours are not lost.
Bright purple Chive flowers make an eye catching and flavourful garnish sprinkled on salads, omelettes, chicken and vegetable dishes.
The medical properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for its limited use as a medicinal herb. Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C and contain trace amounts of sulfur and are rich in calcium and iron. They have been used in alternative medicine as a cure for colds and flu, and as an appetite stimulant.