A Sure Sign of Spring

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When LB told me a patch of chives were about to be ploughed over, I jumped at the chance to dig them up and make use of them. Chives from the grocery store tend to be slimy within 24 hours of bringing them home and they never have the pretty and distinctly oniony-flavored blossoms attached. But farm grown chives are another thing altogether. If you get your hands on chive blossoms, they are edible and add a pop of color to salads. Or try this simple method of preserving: Wait until they open and then pack them into a jar. Add rice vinegar or white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar (!) to top and let it sit for 2 weeks. Then strain and you have a pink-tinged vinegar to add a kick to your next salad dressing. With the green stems themselves...of course they're great on a baked potato, but they also add a fresh onion flavor and bright color to anything that needs a lift. Make a homemade ranch by stirring chopped chives and fresh dill into a mixture of mayonnaise, buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream), a splash of vinegar and garlic powder, adding salt and pepper to taste. Or make Chive Butter by stirring chopped chives (and a few chopped blossoms if you have them) into softened unsalted butter, lemon zest and sea salt to taste. Refrigerate or form into logs and freeze.