Bought a bunch of chives and not sure how to go about them? That begs the question: how long do chives last, and how do you store them?
If you always use chives the same day you buy them, storage is never an issue. But if you need only a tiny amount, storage practices and shelf life come into play. And if you want to learn about either, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to talk about:
- how you should store chives so that the herb lasts longer
- if (and when) putting the chives straight into the fridge without any extra prep is a good idea
- knowing if your chives are spoiled and should be discarded
Interested in learning more? Let’s get started.
How Long Do Chives Last?
Chives can last for up to two weeks in the fridge if you handle them properly. But if you just grab the bunch and chuck it into the crisper drawer as-is, they’ll keep for only 3 to 4 days before water-soaked areas start to form and decay set in.
If you leave chives on the counter, they won’t retain quality for longer than a day. So that’s only an option if you’re going to use them soon after you get home from the grocery store.
In the table below, I put a few ways of storing chives and what you should expect when it comes to storage period for each. I’ll go over all of the methods in more detail in the next section.
|Chives (as-is)||< 1 day||3 – 4 days|
|Chives (+ dry paper towel)||7 days|
|Chives (+ stems in water)||7 days|
|Chives (+ wet paper towel & plastic bag)||up to 14 days|
How To Store Chives
Store chives in the fridge. If you need them to last longer than a few days, wrap them with a damp paper towel and put them into a freezer bag. If you know you won’t finish the bunch within two weeks, freeze them instead.
Chives like cold temperatures between 32°F (or 0°C) and 41°F (or 5°C) and very high humidity ([UCD]). They keep the longest when the temperature is near the lower end of that spectrum. Therefore, refrigerating this herb is pretty much a must.
The thing with chives is that if you put them in the fridge as-is, they start to lose water after a few days and form darkened water-soaked spots.
After another day or two, the whole bunch is wet, mushy, and gross. The only thing you can do at that point is to discard the bunch.
Wash chives under running water right before using them.
To prevent that from happening, you can use paper towels.
If you use a dry one, it’ll soak in the extra moisture (preventing wet spots from forming) and keep the bunch humid for longer.
To up your chives storage game even more, use a moist (not soaking wet) paper towel instead and put the wrapped bunch in a freezer bag. This way, the herb will maintain humidity and retain quality for much longer.
You can also store chives upright in a jar filled with about an inch or two of water. They do that in supermarkets sometimes.
The issue here is that it requires a bit of extra space in the fridge, and you need to change the water every day or two. Too much of a hassle for me.
If all of the above seems like too much work, you can always freeze chopped chives. This way, you have the herb handy whenever needed and don’t need to worry about it going bad.
How To Tell If Chives Are Bad?
Throw out chives that:
- Are wet, mushy, or discolored (translucent or darkened). If that happens to yours regularly, start using paper towels or freezing your chives.
- The bunch starts to rot or grow mold. It’s not that common, but it might happen. If it does, those chives are done for.
Of course, you can cut out a small water-soaked area or remove a few mushy stalks. Unfortunately, that only works if chives have just started to lose quality. That means you’ve caught the issue early.
For me, I tend to forget that I have fresh chives in the fridge. After a couple of days, I stumble upon the bunch when I’m searching for something else, and at that point, the stalks are already spoiled.
Because of that, my wife and I switched to storing frozen chives instead. We prep the bunch as soon as we can, and this way, make sure it never ends up in the trash can.
If your chives often go bad before you use them, consider switching to freezing them.