Recipes frequently call for scallions, green onions and spring onions interchangeably – from Alton Brown’s beloved scallion pancakes to Emeril Lagasse’s timeless green onion tartar sauce; flavor won’t suffer when switching one out for another.
However, distinguishing their distinct appearance and taste may be challenging. Here’s how to tell them apart!
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What Are Scallions?
Scallions are long, thin vegetables with a white base and green stalks, that are consumed raw or cooked. Part of the Allium family, alongside onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives; their white part has similar flavors as onions but with less pungent overtones; green stalks possess grassy or licorice aromas; aside from providing delicious fresh flavor they also boast plenty of nutritional benefits: C, A & K vitamins as well as being an excellent source of fiber!
Scallions, with their mild flavor and crisp texture, are widely used both as ingredients in dishes as well as garnishes. Their colorful blooms add vibrancy to soups, stews, casseroles, salads and stir-fry. Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese cuisine has especially taken to using scallions as part of its holy trinity of ingredients (together with ginger and garlic) for Asian cooking; especially popular salad bases are those incorporating scallions – popular ways of tempering spicy food!
As with many vegetables, scallions are at their finest when at their prime. When shopping for them, look for crisp leaves with vibrant green hues; avoid those that are slimy. When cutting scallions for use in dishes, trim the roots as well as an inch or two from top green stalks before rinsing and chopping the rest for use in recipes.
Green onions and scallions can be found year-round at supermarkets and farmers markets, in either bunches or the produce section. When purchasing multiple bunches at once, make sure each bunch is individually stored before placing into your fridge.
According to Tse, scallions should be stored in an airtight glass jar with just enough water for them. Place it in a cool and dark environment, replacing its contents every four or five days – or freeze up to a month ahead for optimal storage conditions.
Ree Drummond loves using scallions in her recipes, such as her Beef-and-Breaded Potato Soup. Scallions add color and depth of flavor to her pasta salads, macaroni salads, twice baked potatoes and twice-baked potato recipes – they even make great garnishes for anything from nachos to party dips!
How Do Scallions Taste?
Cooks often become confused in the kitchen when their recipe calls for green onions but all you have access to in stores are scallions instead. While they look similar, their tastes differ drastically: while their white portion resembles onions more mildly with grassy notes than pungent tones, their green tops often lend themselves more towards an oniony or even chive-esque taste when chopped finely; both options can be used raw or cooked according to recipe needs.
Scallions are a cool-weather crop and typically available from late winter through spring, according to Glass. You may also find them year-round at select markets.
Due to their mild flavor, scallions can be used in both raw and cooked dishes. From garnishes and finely chopped add-ins for salads or soups with an oniony kick; grilling meats or seafood dishes; stir fries/fried rice dishes using white parts while green tops often become part of salads with other vegetables like cucumbers/carrots etc.
As with other members of the Allium family – garlic, leeks and shallots – scallions are rich in vitamin K; one cup provides nearly half the daily requirement. In addition, they contain vitamin C and folate for optimal health according to Culina Health.
When purchasing scallions, look for ones with tightly closed tops and firm textures, showing little sign of wilting. If not using immediately, store in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator up to several days for use later on.
Replant scallion tops by cutting off their white bottoms and placing them in a jar filled with water on a windowsill for about a week before watering regularly so as to not wilt them away. After they begin growing roots, plant them directly in the ground or use in any dish you enjoy – just remember to water regularly so they don’t wilt!
How Do Scallions Look?
Scallion envy could set in when you see these long, skinny dark green tops of these veggies that taste similar to onions without their bite. Scallions are popular in Asian, Latin American, and other cuisines around the world, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Scallions belong to various species within the Allium family and are closely related to garlic, leeks, and chives. With milder flavor than onions and typically eaten uncooked or only slightly cooked – maintaining their crisp texture – scallions can be found year round in gardens, farmer’s markets and grocery store produce aisles.
When shopping for scallions, look for ones that are vibrant and firm. Look for crisp leaves with vibrant hues and a white base that features straight sides – this indicates the beginnings of bulb development – while slimy or wilted leaves could indicate less freshness. Pre-packaged options may also be an option; just ensure the pack hasn’t been opened prior to taking them home!
Those wanting immediate use can store them in the refrigerator, where they will last up to one week. Alternately, frozen scallions will keep for approximately 12 months when stored in a freezer-safe bag.
Scallions can be used in several different ways; most frequently as an edible garnish on salads and crudites. They also make excellent additions to soups and stews; you can even grill whole scallions for an aromatic, sweet-charred taste!
Add scallions to rice, saute them in oil, or pickle them as an easy and delicious snack, says Glass. These onions can add an unexpected burst of flavor to any recipe and help bring an exciting element of variety into any meal!
Green onions can easily be mistaken for scallions as both are harvested at different stages in their development. One way of telling them apart is the width of their white bulb at the base, which may vary in width depending on its placement compared to stalk and leaf size, according to Lawrence Tse, Farm Manager at Dig.
What Are the Differences Between Scallions and Green Onions?
Scallions and green onions can often be substituted in recipes without issue; but how exactly can you differentiate the two? This boils down to age and appearance. Both scallions and green onions belong to the Allium family of flowers like garlic, leeks, shallots and chives and therefore share similar characteristics such as long green stalks with white bottoms that can be eaten raw or cooked before being added into any dish.
As a general guideline, scallions tend to be younger than green onions; this means they usually feature a thinner white base with less of a bulb at their root end. As they mature and their bulbs expand over time, scallions become taller while their buds get larger as their stalks mature further. According to Healthline, you can quickly identify scallions from green onions by looking at their white bases at their plant’s base – wide white bases indicate older, flavorful plants while thinner bases indicate newer generations that have developed flavor over time as they mature further along their growth cycles compared with younger scallion varieties with thinner white bases showing signs that indicate growth over a prolonged period compared with younger plants growing more slowly over time compared with thinner bases seen on young scalliaries.
When purchasing scallions, make sure to select fresh varieties with vibrant green leaves that have not turned brown, which should also be firm with smooth and tight textures. Although you can find scallions year-round, spring and summer tend to be peak seasons for their availability.
Both scallions and green onions make an excellent addition to many types of dishes, from appetizers to main courses. You can enjoy these healthy gems raw or cooked, providing essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. In particular, quercetin-rich quercetin antioxidants help reduce inflammation while strengthening immunity systems.
Although the differences between scallions and green onions may not seem great, it’s essential that when selecting them at the grocery store they be treated as such. When purchasing for recipes requiring scallions be sure to buy extra even if labeled green onions so your dish comes out exactly how its chef intended! Scallions can be used similarly as green onions; their milder flavor make them suitable for raw dishes or garnishings.