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Charming chives

By Sheela Sheth , Family Flavours - Jul 22,2019 - Last updated at Jul 22,2019

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Sheela Sheth
Food Expert

 

Concealed amidst the grassy meadows and mountains is this hardy and most versatile grassy herb chive plant native to Central Asia. Chives, packed with nutrients, help us maintain youthful-looking skin, strong bones, healthy digestion and so much more.

Hidden treasure 

This aromatic herb grows from a bulb and is the smallest member of the onion family. The slender leaves grow about 30 centimetres with pinkish-purple globular flowers, which spurt out in early spring and are often the first ones to be seen in my kitchen garden even before the cherry blossoms. 

Chives are the best companion to flowers and vegetables due to their rich sulphur content and often serve as a pesticide. The plant creates a stunning garden display and helps control soil erosion.

Health treasure and mood enhancement

Its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic properties work towards destroying harmful microbes and aids in the treatment of yeast infection. 

Vitamin K, which is vital to bone density and strength, is found in traces in chives. It contains folate, which is present in folic acid and helps prevent congenital disabilities.

Chives also contain carotenes lutein which is known to reduce oxidative stress in the eyes; it slows the development of cataract, so it helps improve vision. 

The presence of potassium may boost heart health and the organic compound called allicin also reduces cholesterol levels; it is known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Men who take allium vegetable rich in oregano sulphur compound have the lowest risk of prostate cancer. 

Chives contain choline, an important nutrient for sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. 

Beauty boost

Chives’ contribution in boosting skin radiance is a result of beta-carotene, an antioxidant present in this miracle herb. It also helps treat acne as vitamin C content contributes to anti-ageing and aids in treating yeast infections. 

A Chive face mask acts as a powerful moisturiser and improves the dryness of the skin. A chive oil mask application to hair can improve dryness and strengthen hair roots and split ends.

Culinary delight

Its pungent flavour makes chives a popular culinary craze. Chives add flavour to recipes with eggs, cheese, curry, dips, soups and quiche. You can jazz up refreshing drinks in summer with finely trimmed chives. 

You can also decorate with chive flowers. They taste almost like freshly ground peppercorn with a mild onion flavour and a wonderful garnish for soups. 

Infuse young chive flowers to plain white vinegar — the rosy concoction will burst with tantalising flavour.

People who need to avoid onions should not consume chives. Too much of it can cause indigestion and abdominal discomfort.

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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