There’s always a sense of serenity when my husband, two boys and I go to our lots in the community gardens. The conversations on the drive there always seem to be in good spirit and mood, the day fills up with an enjoyable activity, and we always leave feeling filled up with an energized vibe of Life. Whether it’s spending a few hours weeding, going on explorations with the boys, catching butterflies, planting seedlings and seeds in rich organic soil, or jabbering about with fellow gardeners, I just have to say this one small thing: I like it.
A few days ago a fellow gardener gave me an idea of what to do with the copious amounts of chive flowers we happily “inherited” by taking over an additional lot. At home we have one big healthy chive plant. In the “new” lot (which we’re thinking of naming “Teesville”, after my husbands’ Nan’s charming little house in England) we adopted four extra chive plants, equally as huge and abundant. This means … more chives than we’ll know what to do with. They’re such beautiful plants; and so forgiving and low-maintenance.
But yes, back to the fellow gardener who gave me an idea of what to DO with all these lovely purple flowers, with a scent of that chivey-onion delight! She recommended making a “chive vinegar” with two ingredients: chive and vinegar. Easy enough, yes? As soon as my chives flowered into a purple craze, I took out my scissors, camera and smile and started snipping away!
I collected as many as I possibly could and put them as carefully in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. After doing this I found that I hardly made a dent on my chive plants, which will make many friends happy; hopefully they can harvest some for themselves! After transporting them home, and laying the baggie on my kitchen counter I noticed two recognizable trails that of slugs. Naturally, I groaned in disgust (not a huge slug fan), and took the entire bag of flowers out of their captivity and let them loose in a bin of lukewarm water. Typically, I’m not much of a germaphobe, nor am I entirely squeamish of bugs and critters (hey! protein!), but when it comes to slugs and their slimy trails, I like to clean them as much as possible. So, I individually inspected each one (this took about 45 minutes, but it was worth it to me and my sanity).
While soaking the flowers, I heated the vinegar up to a “just boiling” stage. Meanwhile, after carefully inspecting the flowers, I let them out to dry and enjoy a moment of sun. I put them all in a big jar (rather than individually putting them in smaller jars, merely because I lacked the jars and wanted to get on with this project as soon as possible) and filled up the entire jar with hot vinegar and beautiful clean, purple flowers.
Almost immediately after introducing the two main ingredients together did I get to witness a magical transformation of color and beauty! My little boys watched the process along with me, and we all agreed that this was a show worth seeing! Every single flower burst into a beautiful pink color as did the vinegar. Watching the vinegar soak up the purple and translate it into a different “version” of purple is perhaps the best part of the entire process. I haven’t had any of the vinegar to taste yet (however, let me tell you: the aroma cast out in the kitchen made my mouth water and crave for a summer salad!).
So, with all this said and done, harvested and groomed, loved and nurtured … I thank my fellow community garden gardener for her generosity and very much appreciated suggestion of what to do with my prolific amounts of purple onion-scented flowers. Now for some salad!