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      Garlic Chives vs Onion Chives: What’s The Difference?

      What’s the difference between garlic chives vs onion chives? While the two vegetables are very similar, there are a few distinct differences that are important to know, especially for all the home cooks reading this article. 

      garlic chives vs onion chives

      What are garlic chives?

      Garlic chives, also known as Asian chives, Chinese chives or Chinese leeks, are a kind of vegetable similar to green onions. Their scientific name is Allium tuberosum.

      They are part of the allium family, aka the onion family. Garlic chives bloom pretty white flowers in the late summer to early fall. In fact, some cultures just use garlic chives as decor as opposed to food or medicine. 

      Green chives are not to be mistaken with garlic scapes, though they look very similar. They are two different vegetables. Garlic chives tend to have a stronger garlic flavor compared to garlic scapes. 

      Origins

      Garlic chives are native to Southeast Asia. You may find them being used in Chinese cuisine and other Asian dishes, but they are also used in Chinese herbal medicine. 

      Where to find

      You will have to venture to an Asian grocery store to find garlic chives since they are really only used in Asian cuisine. They are also available online from retailers such as Weee!.

      How to store

      Keep your garlic chives in a plastic bag or an airtight container. To extend shelf life, store in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. They can last at room temperature for about 4-6 days though. 

      You can also freeze your garlic chives. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out your chives flat. Once frozen solid, about 1-2 hours in the freezer, transfer to an airtight container or plastic bag.

      Frozen chives should last up to six months. Once you are ready to eat them, they defrost in a matter of minutes, which is super convenient!

      garlic chives vs onion chives

      What are onion chives?

      Onion chives are typically referred to as simply “chives”, but can also be called regular chives or common chives. Their scientific name is Allium schoenoprasum

      They belong to the Liliaceae family (Lily family) alongside onions, garlic and of course garlic chives. When they bloom, they sprout pretty purple flowers. They bloom in mid spring, early summer time. 

      Origins

      The origins of onion chives aren’t completely certain, but most agree they are native to Asia and Europe. Some believe they are native to North America as well, though this is contested. 

      Where to find

      Onion chives or common chives should be available at your local grocery store. If you are having difficulty finding them, you can always try your local health foods store, international grocery store or Asian grocery store. 

      How to store

      Keep your onion chives in a plastic bag or an airtight container. To extend shelf life, store in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. They can last at room temperature for about 4-6 days. 

      You can also freeze your onion chives. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out your chives flat. Once frozen solid, about 1-2 hours in the freezer, transfer to an airtight container or plastic bag.

      Frozen chives should last up to six months. Once you are ready to eat them, they defrost in a matter of minutes, which is super convenient.

      garlic chives vs onion chives

      Comparison: Garlic Chives vs Onion Chives

      While garlic chives and onion chives have much in common, there are a few distinct differences between the two vegetables. These differences include appearance and taste.

      Appearance

      Garlic chives and onion chives look very similar, but have a few slight differences. Both have long and slender green tops, best described as slender green onions.

      A large difference between the two is the color of their flowers. Garlic chives have white, star-shaped flowers while onion chives have purple flowers. 

      Along with this, onion chives are a bit thicker and longer than garlic chives. They resemble green onions more than garlic chives seem to do.

      Taste

      The main difference between the two vegetables is the flavor. Onion chives have a milder onion flavor, similar to green onions. Garlic chives had a mild garlic flavor.

      While both vegetables have a mild flavor, they are slightly different with one leaning towards onion and the other leaning towards garlic. Garlic and onion do have some flavor similarities, but do taste quite different.

      Alternative uses

      Garlic chives and onion chives have different uses than food. Traditional medical uses include treating parasites, improving digestion and curing anemia. 

      In addition, Chinese medicine uses include increasing energy, improving hemorrhages and even neutralizing certain poisons. 

      Along with the medicinal properties of chives, some use chives as decor since the flowers are so beautiful. This is more common with garlic chives. 

      How to grow chives

      Chives grow best in full sun with well-drained soil. You can grow them in a pot or in an herb garden, whatever you have the best access to. Use rich soil and provide consistent moisture for the best results.

      garlic chives vs onion chives

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Are chives good for you?

      Yes! Chives are a green leafy vegetable meaning they are a good source of many essential nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. 

      They typically don’t taste so great by themselves, but work wonderfully in dishes and when used as a topping. I love adding chives to dishes like kimchi. Totemo oishii desu!

      Are garlic chives the same as onion chives?

      No, garlic chives are not the same vegetable as onion chives. While they look very similar and even taste pretty similar, they are not the same.

      As described earlier in the article, garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor while onion chives have a mild onion flavor. Also, onion chives are larger and thicker than garlic chives.

      Do garlic chives taste like garlic?

      Yes, garlic chives have a very delicate garlic flavor to them, just as regular chives have a mild onion flavor to them. They can be used to make something taste a bit more garlicky.

      That being said, there are better replacements for garlic such as garlic powder than will provide a stronger garlic flavor compared to garlic chives.

      Can I use garlic chives instead of chives?

      Yes, while the two vegetables are not the same, they are similar enough to be used interchangeably for most dishes. They also look fairly similar so most won’t be able to tell the difference.

      That being said, garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor, so make sure that flavor compliments whatever dish you are adding them to before taking the plunge. 

      Are garlic chives and spring onions the same thing?

      No. Garlic chives and spring onions are not the same thing. Spring onions, aka green onions or scallions, are thicker, longer and generally larger than garlic chives. They also have more integrity and a stronger flavor. 

      Onion chives are more similar to green onions because they have a more subtle onion flavor. That being said, common chives are much smaller and thinner than green onions. 

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      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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