<strong>Onions and Garlic and Chives, OH My</strong>

Purple flowers

Wait, don’t forget the garlic scapes!

Garlic, onions, chives, and scapes are allium vegetables.  They contain high levels of organosulfur compounds. These compounds have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

Allium family veggies are considered to be superfoods that contain many heart-protective benefits. (I am not a fan of the word superfoods, but that is another post.)

Let us take a step back and look at the various forms these allium medicinal, magical foods take on.

Green onions: the beautiful green shoots that come off of the onion bulb, pilled before they are tended to so they can develop into the onion orbs.

Onion & garlic chives: both of these plants grow in grass-like clumps. The common chive is more onion like in taste and its foliage growth is tube-shaped.  Garlic chives are a flat, green blade and, oddly enough, taste more like garlic than onions. Their taste is mild, well most of the time, milder than biting into an actual clove of raw garlic.

Garlic scapes: oh, these fun shoots that grow off of the top of garlic bulb… they are tasty, crunchy, and work well in foods raw or cooked. I look forward to scape season every year.

Garlic: bulbs of cloves of earthy goodness to spice up food and gift medicinal properties to our bodies.

Onions: big bulbs to bite into and eat like apples (well, not anymore, my stomach would not be happy with this indulgence. Lower digestive enzymes?), chop and cook with, or enjoy raw slices in various culinary artistic ways.

Taking a look at the various allium options here, we can learn about their properties by looking at how they grow and at their shapes. The chives, green onions, and scapes grow up and out of the ground. This speaks of their energetic properties in how they will be used in the body: moving energy up and out. They may seem a bit snappy and spicy warm tasting but they will move heat out of the body contributing to energetic cooling. Onion and garlic bulbs grow into the earth. When we eat them, they pull our energy inward, grounding us.

The upward growth shapes are long strands. In the body, their medicine impacts the blood vessels, also long strands. Onion bulbs are helpful in bladder infections, notice the round bulb shape of both.

Medicinal properties of allium plants:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: allium plants contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatories work to reduce inflammation within the body. Quercetin supports the lowering of swelling, easing arthritis inflammation, and supporting bladder infections by reducing inflammation and acting as a gentle anti-microbial.

Anti-Oxidant Powers: This is the reduction of oxidation in the body. Oxidation can contribute to many ill health issues. An anti-oxidant in alliums is quercetin. Quercetin reduces tumors, supports prostate health, reduces blood pressure, and supports healing bladder infections. Quercetin supports so much more but I am not writing a book about it.

Detox Properties: allium family foods are well known for their work supporting detoxing in the body. One avenue is through promoting glutathione production. Glutathione is a powerful anti-oxidant used in liver methylation (detoxification pathways n the liver).

Heart & Cardiovascular System Health: alliums are known to lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, lower cholesterols and triglycerides, prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, and have antioxidant properties that promote both heart and blood vessel health.

I could go on and on about more benefits of allium family foods (anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory: anti this and anti that. Let’s turn this into health positive wording: microbiome balancing, vibrant cell growth promotion, and calming / cooling to our tissues.) I invite you to do two things: research these food and medicine beauties yourself or just trust in them as whole foods that heal and eat them often.

Eating chives, green onions, and garlic scapes:

  • Add to raw salads, tabouleh, hummus, baba ganoush, egg-tuna-chicken-turkey salads, on sandwiches, add to soups – stews – stir fries after you have finished cooking to retain the crunch and nutrition.
  • Be artistically creative in the kitchen and find other fun ways to use them.
  • Add to toasted & buttered bread, sprinkle with soft goat cheese or shredded goat cheddar, and quickly melt in the broiler.

Onions and garlic:

  • Cook them, gently, and put them in just about every dish you make.
  • Roast and eat them as a side dish.
  • Top off any meat of bean dish with gently cooked, or raw, onions and garlic.
  • Make a yummy cream of onion and garlic soup, add cheese.
  • Add to soft goat cheese and scoop with crackers and corn chips.
  • Onion and garlic bread
  • Caramelized onions, garlic cloves, and cherry tomatoes on pasta. Remember your favorite cheese!
  • Onion, garlic, and cheddar biscuits.

Somewhat bizarre ways to enjoy onions and garlic:

  • Gently cook whole oat groats or brown rice. Add raw onions and garlic, or gently cooked. Add chunks of cooked beets. Top with soft goat cheese or grated goat cheddar.
  • Onions and garlic added to corn bread recipe.
  • Fried onion and apple slices.
  • Onion Garlic Kugel, Shepard’s pie, or pastry crust pie (add apples too).

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