Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 26th August

All boxes this week include chive bunches from Hills Hydroponics, which whilst generally being regarded as a herb in culinary terms, are actually a member of the allium family (which includes all onions, leeks, and garlic). Chives are the only species in the family that are actually native to Europe, Asia and the Americas, and have been used by humans for thousands of years, although their cultivation only dates back to the 5th century. If you’re not sure what to call the part of the plant that you eat as “chives”, it’s actually technically a scape – the part of an allium that shoots out of the underground bulb to ensure the plant’s flower gets enough sun. While garlic, red and brown onions and shallots are cultivated for their bulb, and almost all of a leek or spring onion is used, the chive is really only cultivated for the scape, although the flowers are also delicious and quite pretty. The name chive comes to English through a fairly circuitous route – the Latin “cepa”, meaning onion, became “cive” in French, and from there was borrowed into English to refer to the specific species of allium. Chives are the least sulphurous of the allium family, and are best used raw or added as a garnish at the very end of cooking, as their very mild, sweet flavour is easily lost in cooking.