For chive blossom vinegar! When we first moved into this house, we inherited a vegetable/herb garden. It was August when we moved in, and the garden was somewhat overgrown. But it had a huge, healthy patch of chives, which I love for cooking. Sort of like a green onion, but not nearly as harsh....just a nice, mild sweet onion flavor. A few years went by and my chives divided and spread, and last year, I had a huge clump that needed to be thinned out. Then I got to thinking about the chive vinegar my mom used to make from the chives in her garden. I called her up, asked her how to do it, and the almost empty bottle on the right is what is left from my efforts last year! Plus I made three or four other bottles of it and gave them away.
The bottle on the left? My first effort this year. I barely had enough blossoms to make it up - we've had a really wet spring and it's just maybe a week early - many of the blossoms are still closed up tight. But I managed to pick enough (with Jonathan's help!) to make up one jar - which will go to my mom as part of her Mother's Day gift assortment when we go to visit her for a few days tomorrow. Hopefully, next week I'll have about twice as many blossoms and can make up a huge batch of this stuff. It is so good - a vinegar with a nice onion flavor and beautiful color. I use it on salads, in my potato salad and cole slaw. You can also drizzle it on veggies for a little tang.
I love doing stuff like this. There's something about growing your own food. I love to harvest fresh vegetables and bring them in the house, wash them and cut them up while they're still warm from the sun. I love to pick herbs and crush them into my recipes, tasting the bursts of flavor they impart. I love chopping hot peppers up into my chili and my fajitas that just moments before were hanging off a pepper plant. I'm not sure why this gives me such a feeling of contentment. At the barest minimum, you know that the foods you grown yourself are the purest you can eat. Sure we fertilize a little, but we don't use pesticides and everything is fresh, picked at the peak of ripeness and organic. But it's more than that. Maybe it satisfies an ancestral need to provide for yourself, hearkening back to the day when humans relied on hunting and gathering to survive. To put a seed or a little plant into the ground, nourish it, care for it, protect it, watch it grow, harvest the fruits, cook them, put them on the table -- not a lot compares to that feeling of satisfaction.
So with that in mind, will someone please remind me of this post when July rolls around and I'm up to my neck in zucchini and complaining that we can't eat it fast enough?