The chives are still going strong in my window boxes, but they won't be for much longer. It's time to use them, preserve them or lose them. I will be chopping some of them up and freezing them in ice cubes to use throughout the winter, particularly in my ranch dip recipe that I make frequently throughout the holiday season.

Another way I'll be preserving them is by making chive butter, and it couldn't be easier to make. Here's the simple recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of chives, chopped fine
  • 1 cup of butter (the equivalent of two sticks), at room temperature
  • large pinch of kosher salt if using unsalted butter, omit if using salted butter

Directions

  • In a large bowl, stir the butter, chives and salt (if using) together with a sturdy spoon or with a handheld mixer.
  • On parchment paper, wax paper, or the recycled waxy bag from cereal or crackers, form the butter into a log.
  • Wrap the butter in the paper and seal it well.
  • Store in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for up to three months.

Using other herbs

This method can be done with almost any herb, and you can create your own combinations using a 2:1 of butter to herbs. Here are some other herb combinations that work well in butter.

  • Parsley, dill, scallions (or chives), garlic: Great for fish
  • Parsley, basil, oregano, garlic: Great for making a garlic bread spread
  • Oregano, chives, rosemary: Great for spreading on crusty bread
  • Cilantro, lime zest, small amount of lime juice: Great on corn on cob
  • Parsley, tarragon, rosemary, chives: Great with eggs

Uses for herb butter

herb-butter-steak Dolloping it on top of steak is a classic use for herb butter. (Photo: Lisovskaya Natalia/shutterstock)

Feel free to get as creative as you want with how you use your herb butter, but here are some common uses:

  • Sandwich spread
  • Dollop on top of hot, cooked steak, pork, chicken or fish, allowing it to melt and form a sauce
  • Butter for your dinner rolls
  • Melt and drizzle on top of vegetables
  • Cook eggs in them

Beyond the butter log

Log form is not the only shape your herb butter can take. You can spoon it into ramekins or large crocks, cover and store. These containers can go straight from the fridge to the table. Really, any container can be used to store your herb butter as long as it can be sealed air tight, and if you're putting the butter in the freezer, make sure the container is freezer safe.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.