Harvesting and storing chives in the freezer


Some herbs, like chives, basil and dill, freeze well. Use frozen chives in soups, mix with cooked side vegetable dishes, or include with meat recipes like meatloaf.
 
You can cut chives any time during the growing season. Make the last harvest in the fall and before the first frost. Cut chive stems about 2 inches above ground. Lay the stems flat and then pull out brown, woody stems, or weeds that may have been captured in the cutting process. I pinch off brown tips on the chive stems.
 
Prepare chives for freezing

Bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Bunch the stems together and grasp the stems with tongs. Thrust the stems into the boiling water and swish around for about one minute. (My stems in the picture were too long to easily swish so I dropped the stems into the water.)

WHY boil chives before freezing
Penn State County Extension Service explains why we blanch herbs and vegetables before freezing them: "Blanching stops the action of enzymes. These naturally occur in vegetables helping them grow and ripen. The enzymes continue to act after harvest and will cause color, flavor, texture, and nutrient losses. Freezing slows down the action of enzymes - but does not stop them."

Rinse the stems immediately under cold water. I prefer freezing my chives in ice cube trays to create individual servings. I freeze a portion of the chives in olive oil for recipes that include olive oil in the cooking process. Another portion of the chives is frozen in water for use in side dishes like mashed potatoes. If freezing in olive oil, dab the chives with a paper towel to remove excess water after rinsing.
 
Mince or chop the chives like you would use them in a recipe. I use scissors to cut the chives into the desired length, letting the clippings drop directly into the ice cube tray. 

How to freeze chives
 
Drop the cut chives into ice trays. Fill each cup with as much chive as you might need for a recipe. I fill each cup about half way.


Cover with water or oil, poking down any chive pieces that rise above. Place in freezer.

When frozen, remove the cubes of frozen chive and store in freezer bag. If using plastic ice cube trays, twist the tray to release water-chive cubes. Twisting may not release chives frozen in oil. Push a knife or fork down the side of the ice cube cup to pop out the oil-chive cube. Keep chives in the freezer up to four months.


frozen cubes of chives
Mixed bag of frozen chives in water and olive oil