All About Scallions: Here’s What You Need to Know

Scallions, commonly known as green onions or spring onions, are young onions that feature a white base that hasn’t fully matured into a bulb and long green stalks that look like chives. Both the white and green sections of the plant are utilized in dishes and can be eaten raw or cooked.

What Are Scallions?

Scallions belong to the same Allium family as garlic, onions, leeks, and shallots. They have dark green, hollow tube-like leaves that grow in clusters. Although the term scallion is applied to various onions, whole scallions have straight rather than rounded sides on their white base (which distinguishes the beginnings of a bulb developing). Short off-white root threads extend from the bottom of the white end in most cases. 

What Is the Best Method for Slicing?

They should be sliced, not chopped, with the entire length of a sharp knife’s blade. To slice scallions, follow these steps:

  • Remove any broken or rotten outer leaves from the green stalks and put a few scallions in a single layer.
  • Place the blade’s tip against the work surface.
  • Pull the scallions backward steadily.

How Do You Use Them?

One of the best things about scallions is that they’re mild enough to be eaten fresh or cooked only minimally, preserving their crisp texture.

Although scallions can be cooked whole or chopped, they are best served fresh in salads, as crudites, or as a last-minute sauce topping. Scallions are a common element in Asian and Latin American cuisines, and they’re frequently used as a garnish in several dishes. 

Cebollitas, or baby white onions with their shoots still attached, are scallions with larger, more bulbous bottoms commonly used in Latin American cuisine. Straight, cylindrical shoots are the most frequent type of scallions.

You can use cooked scallions in stir-fries, but they should be added last to stay crisp. Marinades and salad dressings frequently contain them. When finely sliced, they impart more flavor to the meal, and more significant portions impart more taste when consumed.

What Do They Taste Like?

Scallions are a versatile vegetable with two distinct flavors since they are made up of two sections, the white bottoms and the green shoots on top. The bottom white area has the strongest resemblance to the flavor of onion, particularly a white onion; however it is less aromatic and sweeter. Even though it is the most intense onion section, it is mild enough for most palates when eaten raw as a garnish or element in a salad. The green component has a strong onion flavor, but it also has a fresh, grassy flavor. 

How Should They Be Stored?

To store fresh scallions, remove the elastic band from the bunch, rinse it carefully, shake off excess water, and pat dry with paper towels to keep them fresh for a short time. Then wrap them in damp paper towels and put them in the crisper drawer for up to three days in the humid setting.

If you want to keep them fresh for longer, a clean glass jar is required. Fill it with water until it’s about half-full. Remove the rubber band and rinse the scallions before standing them up in the pot, with white ends facing down. Cover the tops with a plastic produce bag and tie the bag around the jar’s mouth with a rubber band. Your scallions will last up to a week in the fridge. 

Do They Go Bad?

Scallions kept in water for a week or more can be refrigerated. You can also freeze scallion slices to extend their shelf life, but their texture will alter when defrosted; therefore, previously frozen scallions should only be used in cooked meals and not raw.

Do You Want to Learn More about Uses in Cooking?

Nowadays, scallions are abundant at the farmers’ market. They’re milder than their more mature siblings and work well as a garnish, seasoning, or side dish cooked or raw. Take a cooking class at Food Fire + Knives if you want to learn more creative uses for this unsung kitchen hero. With an in-home chef experience, our private chef in Charleston can help improve your cooking skills. Contact us today to find out how our class works!

Published By Michael Casciello