While taking a walk through the fields here at Woodside Farms, just about everything you touch is edible, medicinal, or beneficial in some way. Many things in the field may be new to you as they tend to have a short shelf life or aren’t always highly marketable in a supermarket world and so are saved for the home gardeners, local farmers, and farmers market-perusers. This is where magic can be found. So many salads can be spruced up with edible flowers and herb overloads. Classic standbys like mashed potatoes can be dolled up with garden freshness, and another taco Tuesday can’t go by without the most delicious and brightly colored radishes you ever did see. This is the magic of choosing your local farm over just another box store with under- (yet somehow also over-) ripened produce with the bare minimum nutrient content. This week, while doing my herb-gathering walk, I decided to focus on chive flowers specifically. They’re a gorgeous little burst of light purple papery petals and are completely edible. While adding chives to my salads, omelets, and stir-fries, I usually save their flowers for a garnish, as they share a light allium flavor and are incredibly pleasing to look at. Many of the chives in the fields are pushing to go to seed right now and so have exploded into a purple flower landscape, like a firework grand finale (if firework grand finales were all in one color).
Like other fresh herbs and veggies, chives can bump up your vitamin and mineral intake, even if you only eat a few of them. Just one tablespoon (though, who would want to stop there) can increase your intake of Vitamins K, C, and A. All of which are important in bone health, blood clotting, and wound healing, and are also most impactful when eaten with other vitamin K-rich foods like leafy greens, scallions, broccoli, etc. Additionally, chives are high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, which help relieve oxidative stress and therefore reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Chives also contain organosulfur, which can positively impact the way in which certain enzymes contribute to the detoxification process and therefore also contribute to slowing down the growth and spread of cancer cells.
So back to the garden: While walking along, I grabbed a few chives for my lunch and popped their purple little heads off into my basket. After bringing them inside and brushing some of the dirt off, I decided I wanted to do a little something different with my garden magic. I stuffed them all into a jar and added white vinegar on top. I then took a wooden spoon and crushed all the flowers down. Hiding this vinegar away in a cupboard, I’ll take it back out in about 2-3 weeks and after straining the flowers out, I’ll add it to my homemade salad dressings. There are so many different ways to increase your garden consumption. Go ahead and get creative and find a new fun way to eat something you’ve never had before. Whatever you concoct at home, tag us in it, we’d love to see it! And if you’re okay with it, we’d love to post all our favorite treats that all you at-home chefs come up with!