How to Dry Chives: Tips for Harvesting, Drying and Storing

How to dry chives
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Free-Photos

Drying chives is easy, and, like most herbs, you can air dry, oven dry, or dehydrate them. Knowing how to dry chives can come in really handy because the herb grows fast and in large amounts.

Chives taste best when eaten fresh because, unlike other kitchen herbs, they lose most of their aroma when dried. Therefore, freezing chives is always a good option to retain as much flavor as possible. If, however, your freezer is full or you want to dry them for another reason, there are several easy ways to do it.

Harvesting Chives

Drying chives
Always use a sharp knife or sharp scissor for harvesting. That way you won’t crush the delicate herb leaves, which can further drain the herb of its aroma. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Couleur)

When to harvest chives: It is best to harvest chives in the early morning, after the dew has dried. Like other herbs, this is when their flavor is most concentrated.

How to harvest chives: When it comes to harvesting, the “how” is just as important as the “when”. Cut the chives down to 1 – 2 inches above the ground. This will help the chives regrow in the coming season.

Drying Chives

Drying Chives
Drying chives is easy, if you follow a few simple steps. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - alleksana)

Before drying chives, rinse them in cold water and remove all leaves that are wilted or damaged. Then carefully dab them dry with a clean cloth. Now you can choose from one of the following methods below to dry your chives.

1. Air dry chives

  1. Gather a handful of chives and bind them into a loose bundle using twine.
  2. Take a paper bag and cut some holes or slits into the sides for air circulation. Place the chives in the bag and tie another piece of twine around the bag including the chives. This will keep away dust and excessive sunlight.
  3. Hang the bag in a cool and dry space and leave it there for about two weeks. Check the chives for mold every few days.
  4. When the chives feel dry and crumble easily, they are ready for storing.

Did you know? You can also dry basil almost the same way.

Drying Chives
You don’t need much for air drying: a paper bag, a pair of scissors and some twine and you’re good to go. (Photo: Utopia / Sharon Hodge)

2. Dehydrating chives

A dehydrator is a good option for drying chives because it is a much faster method than air drying them and much more energy-efficient than the oven. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Cut the chives into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Cover the chives with a dehydrating screen or mat, if your dehydrator comes with it.
  3. Dry the chives for roughly one hour at 90 degrees F.
  4. Do the dried chives crumble between your fingers? Then they’re ready.

3. Drying chives in the oven

This drying method requires more energy and isn’t as environmentally friendly as the two options above. Although it is much faster than hang-drying and is a safe way to avoid mold building up during the drying process, we still recommend choosing one of the other methods.

  1. Preheat the oven to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit or to the lowest temperature setting.
  2. Cut the chives into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and leave it in the oven for 1-2 hours. Check regularly to make sure the chives are not burnt.
  4. When the chives crumble between your fingers, they are dry enough. Now you can take the baking sheet out of the oven and let everything cool off.

Note: Try to use up dried chives within six months of harvesting them. The more time passes, the less the loss of flavor will be.

Storing Chives

Storage containers
It’s best to use containers made of ceramic or brown glass for storing herbs, that way they won’t be exposed to too much sunlight. (Photo: Utopia / Sharon Hodge)

After you have dried chives using one of the three methods above, store them in an air-tight container that is kept in a cool and dark place. It is important that the herbs are completely dry before doing this, otherwise they may get moldy.

Note: Before using dried chives to refine your dishes, briefly soak them in water. This will make the aroma come out a bit stronger.

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