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Herb Garden
Published January 6, 2024 by Nicole Burke

How to Save Chives from Your Garden so You Never Have to Buy Chives Again

Filed Under:
herb garden
allium family
drying herbs
saving herbs
kitchen garden
how to save chives

The Easiest Way to Preserve Chives so You Have Them All Year Long

I was at Target the other day shopping for groceries, as moms tend to do, when I noticed a small jar of organic dried chives for $5.99. If you're growing chives (even a single chives plant, really), you can make your own dried chives for a lot less, trust me.

Chives are so productive in the kitchen garden—so productive that you probably harvest them and then have no idea what to do with all those leaves, right?

Well, one of our goals here at Gardenary is to help you grow a year-round supply of herbs. And one of the ways you make that happen is by harvesting more than you need at the moment. So every time you go to harvest your chives, do a double harvest: some for now and some to preserve for later use.

Then, follow these three simple steps to preserve your chives so you can have that delicious chives flavor year round, even if you live in a very cold place.

chives fresh from the plant

Supplies to Save Chives for the Year

  • a salad spinner
  • a tea towel
  • a dehydrator (you can use your oven if you don't have one)
  • herb scissors or a kitchen knife
  • a wide-lipped jar with a tight-fitting lid

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Step One to Save Your Chives

Prepare Your Fresh Chives

The first thing to do is take some chives fresh from your plant. Pull out any spent parts of the chives (you can toss those leaves or put them in your compost pile). Keep only leaves that look nice and green.

Give your chives a little bath in a salad spinner or rinse them under some water to clean them.

Now your goal is to get your chives as dry as possible for preserving. If you're using a salad spinner, give your harvested chives a good spin to shake off as much water as possible. Then, place your chives on a tea towel and lightly press on them to remove any remaining moisture.

You're already one step closer to having a year-round supply of chives!

harvesting from a chives plant to make year-round supply of chives
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Step Two to Save Your Chives

Dry Your Chives in a Dehydrator

I do recommend drying your chives in a dehydrator or in the oven over hanging them up. I hang lots of my herbs to dry, but I've found that this method causes chives to lose both their flavor and their crispness, which is what we're looking for.

I have a pretty basic dehydrator. Its manufacturer recommends 95°F for herbs and spices, but that temp didn't work well for me. I do 145°F to get my chives completely dehydrated quickly.

Make sure to spread your chives out over the trays so they're not really touching. Airflow is the name of the game when it comes to using a dehydrator.

how to dehydrate chives

Check your chives after 30 minutes and then 60 minutes to see how they're doing. You want them to be nice and crispy, ready to be preserved for the year. They should look a bit like dried grass.

How to Dry Your Chives in the Oven If You Don't Have a Dehydrator

Set your oven on a low temperature (about 200°F to 250°F), and spread your chives out on a pan. Bake them for about 20 to 30 minutes—that should get the job done.

chives dried in deyhdrator

Step Three to Save Your Chives

Slide Chopped Chives into a Jar

Empty your dried chives onto a plate. You can break the leaves up by hand or use some herb scissors to make short work of cutting them up into perfectly sized strips for sprinkling onto your favorite dishes.

By now, your chives should be smelling so good! When I chop my chives, it's like a little bit of chives magic is released with each and every single cut.

chives chopped and preserved for year-round use

Slide all your chopped chives into your wide-lipped jar, and seal it up with the lid. Store your chives somewhere cool and dry.

And voila! You're all set. You've just made your own organic chives to last you through the winter.

how to keep chives long term

Ways to Enjoy Your Dried Chives

When chives are dried, they smell almost exactly like garlic powder. They can be used in all kinds of ways: as toppings for soups, stews, baked potatoes, pizza, pasta, omelettes, and any other savory recipe, really. You can make a little meat rub or your own dry spice blend.

Your homegrown chives will be so fragrant and bring a ton of flavor to whatever recipe you add them to.

Leaves, Roots & Fruit Teaches You the Step by Step to Grow as a Gardener

Do you dream of walking through your own kitchen garden with baskets full of delicious food you grew yourself?

Nicole Johnsey Burke—founder of Gardenary, Inc., and author of Kitchen Garden Revival—is your expert guide for growing your own fresh, organic food every day of the year, no matter where you grow. More than just providing the how-to, she gives you the know-how for a more practical and intuitive gardening system.

Time to Dry Some Chives!

I don't know about you, but I grew enough chives plants to fill about 100 jars with dried chives—more than enough for myself. I'll be gifting jars to friends and neighbors.

You'll see when you make your own that there is magic in that jar. You know those chives have been grown organically by your own hands, and now they've been dried and saved by your own hands too. You'll get to enjoy the fresh flavor of spring and summer in your kitchen all winter long because you grew it yourself. 

And remember, if someone tries to give you grief over buying all those plants, you can tell them you saved $5.99 with each and every jar of herbs you preserved. I definitely got my money back this year. And I'll get even more return on my investment when my same little chives bounce back in the spring and produce even more delicious leaves for me to save. That's what we call gardener math, you know what I'm saying?

Here's to you having the best-tasting chives in your whole town right in a jar!

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How to Save Chives from Your Garden so You Never Have to Buy Chives Again