Garlic Chives – Allium tuberosum
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Allium tuberosum is an Asian species of onion native to the Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan, India) and to the Chinese Province of Shanxi. It is cultivated in many places and naturalized in scattered locations around the world.
Allium tuberosum has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. The flavor is more like garlic than chives. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. In warmer areas, garlic chives may remain green all year round. In cold climates, leaves and stalks will completely die back to the ground, and re-sprout from roots or rhizomes in the spring.
Both leaves and the stalks and immature, unopened flower buds are used as a flavoring in a similar way to chives, scallions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. Garlic chives are sometimes “blanched”–the clumps are cut and then covered to block light while they resprout. This produces a softer leaf with a yellow rather than green color, and a subtler flavor.