Refreshingly crisp and a gorgeous topper for various dishes, the green onion is famous for adding some texture and complexity to several recipes. And this doesn’t just apply to Filipino cuisine. Green onions are an ingredient you’ll be able to find in dishes from around the world. This is because of their mild taste that can be added to most savory dishes easily.
Particularly well-loved in Latin-American and Asian cuisine, these green onions can be found in many recipes from these regions. But this food is not just popular for being a fantastic added deal of flavor and texture to cooked dishes. It can also be consumed raw, especially in salads.
We can also call them scallions. It is a common misconception that they are different, but they are actually one and the same! And if you’re looking for an ingredient with just a bit less of that immense, strong flavor of onions, you can turn to scallions as an alternative. Keep reading for more facts about the delicious green onion!
What are green onions? And what are they made up of?
This versatile ingredient refers to younger onions that are harvested early. We often are able to use them for our cooking already despite having underdeveloped bulbs at half an inch or 13 mm, or even smaller in diameter. But because of this, we usually make use of green onions fully– from top to stem to bulb.
And if you’re wondering what kind of onion they are, I can tell you that scallions can actually come from all kinds of onions. What mainly differentiates them from your regular onion is that we pull them out while immature, and without a big bulb yet.
Scallions may remind you greatly of leeks, shallots, garlic and onions. And this is because they all come from the Allium family. When planted, they often grow together as clumps. And with time, they begin to have green leaves that resemble tubes.
It is composed of a white base that is yet to fully become a grown bulb, as well as lengthy green stalks. The latter actually looks like another similar ingredient– chives. People usually mistake these two ingredients for each other, but they aren’t the same. We tend to confuse green onions for many other ingredients with a similar appearance or usage. While some countries call it a different name, which can also be cause for confusion. But we’re here to straighten that all out!
How are scallions or green onions different from chives and spring onions?
Firstly, we can differentiate chives from scallions clearly because the prior is not actually an onion. While they similarly have bulbous perennials, they do not belong in the onion category. They, however, both come from the Allium group of plants, but are different species altogether. Chives are an Allium schoenoprasum, while the green onion is an Allium fistulosum.
Another distinction can be seen in scallions’ thick stems that are green on the top, and white at the bottom. This white part tends to contain the more powerful flavor in our green onions. Meanwhile, chives have long, thinner stems that are green from top to bottom. And chives also fall under herbs, while green onions are vegetables.
As for spring onions, these tend to be a lot more similar to scallions than chives are. People often end up interchanging their names because of their similarities. This is especially with green onions that people dub as spring onions in nations like Canada and the United Kingdom. This is because they are almost entirely the same.
But their main difference is age. Spring onions are essentially more mature than scallions, and we usually plant them during the latter part of fall. And then we harvest them in the following spring. This is where its name comes from. Similar to scallions, spring onions also have a milder taste compared to your average onion. However, spring onions still have a more intense flavor than scallions, making them an unfit substitute for some recipes.
Now that you’re well-informed about green onions and how it compares to similar ingredients, you might want to find out just how these peppery, mellow vegetables are grown. Well, the good news is that it isn’t too difficult. And you can even venture to do it in your own backyard!
How can I grow my own green onions at home?
Compared to your regular onions, our scallions can actually require less work to harvest. This is because it takes less time for them to grow, as we take them out before fully maturing. When you sow them during the spring season, you can finish harvesting in about 8 to 10 weeks, or when your transplants have become about a foot tall.
If you’re using seeds, you can try planting them about a quarter of an inch deep, a half inch apart from one another, and including about 12 to 18 inches of row spacing. Also make sure that you use well-draining soil that is healthy for the best results. You should also try shallow watering during the short growing season.
But what if you don’t have seeds? Well, one of the best parts about green onions is that after buying them, you may actually end up with an endless supply afterwards. This is because you can regrow them in water. Most scallions are usually sold with their roots still intact. And so these are some of the most convenient and easy ingredients to grow on your own for future usage.
What are the steps towards regrowing my scallions?
To do this, you can start out by cutting a few inches above your scallions’ roots. For the green part or the top, feel free to use this in the kitchen because we will no longer be needing it for planting. As for the bulbs we’ve set aside, make sure to place it with the roots on the bottom in a glass or a jar. Also pour in just about a good amount of water and cover the roots fully with this.
Afterwards, put your glass or jar near the sun– ideally by a windowsill– and you’re good to go! Just make sure that you change your water once every few days, as the plant will absorb its nutrients. And as time passes by, you’ll notice lengthier roots, and the tops of your plant growing leaves. Once they are about the same size as they were when you bought them, you can cut the tops off and use them as needed.
And now that you’ve been briefed on growing these scallions, it’s about time you also learn how to chop these up.
How do I cut my green onions properly?
This might depend on what you’re up to making in the kitchen. Some dishes might call for a different cut when it comes to these scallions. However, if you’re looking for a more general way to slice these green onions wherein they can work for most recipes, there are some steps towards that. This can work for recipes wherein you need scallions to top the dish, or as tiny additions to a mix of ingredients.
Firstly, you should try to take out wilted parts of your scallions. Then proceed to remove the root end. This should be about an inch, as well as the rougher end of the green part or the top. Afterwards, use a circular motion of cutting to slice your scallions very thinly.
If your recipe does not ask for a specific way of having your scallions cut, the aforementioned manner of slicing could work for it. But some cooking methods usually have a common way of needing the scallions sliced. For example, you’ll usually need ⅛-inch wide slices for green onions in salads, garnishes, as well as salsas. This works for recipes that will not involve cooking your scallions so that its taste won’t be overbearing on the dish’s overall flavor.
What about cutting these for stir-fries and for chopping?
As for stir-fried dishes, you can try cutting your scallions 1-inch thick. And there are also recipes that might ask for a bias-slice or a diagonal cut. For this, slice your scallions at a 45-degree angle, and this will usually work with ½ to 1-inch cuts. And if bite-sized strips or julienned scallions are needed, you can cut your medium scallion in half while sitting vertical. Then slice the halves crosswise, and in 1 to 2-inch size.
And for chopping, use your chef’s knife to cut your green onion all the way through into tiny pieces. Also do a rocking motion with your chopping, and continue doing this until they are in smaller pieces.
There may also be instances wherein you end up with too much of these green onions in your hands than the recipe calls for. With that, here are a few pointers on storing your scallions in the best way.
How should I store my green onions to keep them as fresh as possible?
Among the easiest ways for storage of green onions is by refrigerating them in your crisper. Make sure to do this with a temperature of around 32 to 36 °F. With this, they can usually last for about 7 days or more. But refrigeration can also lead to getting a limp batch of green onions.
There are other ways for effective storage of your green onions. But they might take a little more effort than refrigerating, which is what we’re probably used to. But another way wherein is by wrapping your scallions in a moist paper towel. After this, put them inside an airtight container so you can also make them last for longer. This method also works quite well for chives, and conveniently only uses materials that are pretty accessible and easy to find in your own kitchen.
But one of the most recommended methods for storage is simply using a jar to keep this fresh. Much like the way to regrow green onions mentioned above, all you have to do is fill your jar with about 1 to 2 inches of water. Then place your scallions upright inside the jar, and wrap it with a plastic bag. Afterwards, put it inside your refrigerator.
This has been a guaranteed way to keep your green onions tasty and crunchy for approximately 7 days. And now that you’ve gotten the full briefer on how to keep your green onions, maybe you’d like some ideas on what to cook with it.
What recipes can I use that have a good deal of green onions in them?
Enjoy juicy, flavorful spoonfuls of pork slices with this Pork and Scallion Stir Fry! It has just the right deal of savor and heartiness for your next meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you tend to enjoy stir-fries with less of the strong, overpowering taste, this could also make for a fantastic option. We cut back on richer, intense flavors for this, as we mainly depend on scallions, ginger and light soy sauce for a mild, but full-bodied taste.
And we can’t go without mentioning that this only takes 20 minutes to make. You don’t always have to skimp on delightful flavors when you have little to no time to prepare your food. Our dish has all the ingredients for a satisfying meal, while mainly requiring a quick stir-fry to get your meal ready.
Green onions can also go particularly well with the mild, and somewhat sweet taste of fresh seafood. These Stir Fried Crabs with Ginger and Scallions make the most of your delicate shellfish’s flavor, as it is mingled with silky oyster sauce, sesame oil and ginger.
The mention of crab might be initially intimidating for a starter cook. However, this is one crab recipe you can definitely follow with simple steps, and terrific, appetizing results! We will mostly be deep-frying our fresh crab, and mixing in our gorgeous, velvety sauce for that rich flavor.
Beautifully charred, while tender on the inside, there is something irresistible about a well-grilled batch of large squid. You might be able to find these in get-togethers, as they make for great viands and pulutan. If you’re looking for a simple, but unforgettably delicious recipe for this, we’ve got you covered with our Inihaw na Pusit with Scallion!
For this dish, I would also suggest making a side dish much like ensaladas– a succulent, tasty mix of onions, tomatoes, and bagoong alamang. This would go terrifically with our smooth, flavorful squid. And you’ll likely have time to prepare more sides for this because like the previous recipe, this Inihaw na Pusit will only take 20 minutes to make.
Soft, and deliciously coated in citrus-y sauce, this Steamed Fish with Scallions and Ginger tastes as delightfully refreshing as it sounds. We have all the right ingredients to elevate our red snapper’s flavor, while employing a healthier method of cooking. Since we will be steaming the fish, there’s less usage of oil.
Be warned that you will need a steamer for this, and so you could use a multipurpose cooker or a bamboo steamer. This will make for a lovely and filling dish for three without eating up too much of your time. It will take less than a half hour to make, and has all the complex, but delicate flavors for your palate.
Who doesn’t love a good plate of binagoongan? Using heaps of rich, umami-tasting bagoong alamang or shrimp paste, this Pork Ribs Binagoong is flavorful and meaty without too overpowering a flavor. We are also using a set of tender pork spareribs for our recipe, which truly enhances the texture of our dish.
Moreover, we have a nice mix of vegetables for that truly wholesome dish. Packed with slices of Chinese eggplant and tomatoes, we get a taste of varied textures alongside our protein-filled spareribs. And what ties it all together is the thick, rich stew of bagoong, green onions and white vinegar.
With such a lovely array of dishes to go well with them, it’s no wonder that green onions have become more and more popular as an ingredient over the years. Despite the fact that we usually cut them up into tiny pieces, they can truly help make or break a dish’s flavor and texture.
If you have any questions about these adaptable, refreshing scallions, comment with your queries below! And let us know if you’ve got any suggestions for other recipes to have with green onions!