How to Make Chive Vinegar

Over at the popular blog Food in Jars, Marisa McClellan has some interesting information about making chive blossom vinegar. I was lucky enough to read her post when a corner of my flowerbed was a riot of delicate chive blossoms, so I gave her recipe a try.

A day in my mixture looks beautiful and smells even better. I didn't follow the directions exactly (I never do). This is my variation with photos. (Please visit Food in Jars for Marisa's original post, and take a look around. Ostensibly her little corner of cyberspace it's about canning, but there are so many wonderful asides and fun ideas it's worth a bookmark, even if you aren't a handy canner -- yet.)

Here's my own chive vinegar recipe. I make vinegars often and just included a few extra ingredients I thought might add something. The measurements are approximate.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

2 1/2 cups chive blossoms
2 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I would probably have used white or a flavored blend like maybe raspberry, but apple was all I had on hand. Sometimes that's just the way it goes.)
2 Bay leaves (smallish) I had fresh, but you could use dried, too.
2 allspice berries
10 whole peppercorns

Chive blossoms can harbor tiny beetles and other pests you definitely don't want to pickle for posterity. Harvest the blossoms and give them a cold water bath for ten minutes or so. Then drain them. Repeat the process a couple of times to make sure any freeloaders have exited down the drain. Chive flower heads can be dense, so it may be hard to see insects hiding inside. Better a little extra soaking than a side of flea beetle with your next salad.

After a good soaking, I removed as much excess water as I could in a salad spinner. This is a step Marisa recommends. You'll be surprised at how much water you'll be able to expel with a little centrifugal force. If you don't have a salad spinner, consider buying one. Restaurants use them to prolong the life of salad greens by a few days, and it really works. The pros sometimes call them greens machines.

Fill an empty jar with the flowers and herbs, and then cover the flowers with vinegar and seal the container. My flowers were pretty tightly packed, so I used a wooden skewer to make sure the vinegar soaked everything. I did dislodge a couple of air pockets (which is important). A couple of shakes were helpful, too.

I like the idea of making the jar more attractive by leaving the chives in place.  My plan is to let this batch of vinegar cure and then strain it off. Then I'll top the chives off with vinegar again -- two batches for the price of one. (That's why I used quite a few more blossoms than I strictly needed.)

Place the mixture in a warm, dark spot for a couple of weeks to cure. Shake it every couple of days or so.

I started to see the vinegar change color pretty quickly. You can see by the picture that the jar and its contents look very pretty today. The vinegar smells wonderful already: oniony with just a hint of a garlicky undertone. I know that the chives will turn white vinegar a beautiful, rich pink color.  I'm curious to know what it will do with a vinegar that is already tinted.

Marisa and her readers suggest using chive flower vinegar in:

  • Mustard making
  • Oil and vinegar salad dressings
  • Soups (to add acidity)
  • Three bean salad

I also like the idea of sprinkling it over fried fish instead of malt vinegar and using it in refrigerator pickle making. It would probably make a very nice ingredient in a marinade, too. Thanks Marisa!

Oh, and don't use all your chive flowers for vinegar. Save some for seed, and keep some to add to salad and to use as a fun garnish. As edible flowers go, chives blossoms are aromatic and make a wonderful display when used with citrus like lemon wedges and orange slices.


  1. Anonymous7:23:00 AM

    Sweet! can't wait to try this, i've been making tinctures and essential oils and now i have another recipe to add to my collection. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous10:26:00 AM

    That looks BEAUTIFUL! I cannot wait to try it!

  3. Chives have Flowers???!!! I live in the tropics and have never seen chives flower!. Wonder if it is the heat?. These are a staple for my kitchen. Cannot do without them.


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