I have a love-hate relationship with spring. While I am always excited to shed layers of coats and hats - there is always disappointment with early spring produce. There is nothing to eat that really screams SPRING!
I call March, April and early May the “hungry” months. Just as we are getting outside and looking to lighten up our menus with bright springy flavors, Mother Nature is holding out on us. It is not until late May that flavors of the season start appearing in the markets. There is one exception: Spring Onions.
What Are Spring Onions?
I know this doesn’t sound exciting but it really is. Spring onions are immature bulb onions that have not fully developed. They are smaller than the usual yellow, Spanish or white onions. They are also sweeter than their mature counterparts with a fresh, soft onion-garlic quality. Just using these sweet members of the allium family makes recipes sprightly and brighter in flavor.
Are the Spring Onions the Same as Scallions or Green Onions?
No, scallions or green onions are not the same as Spring Onions, read more here, but they can be used interchangeably. They are all super fun and most versatile ingredient.
You can sear the whole thing on a grill as a succulent, pungent vegetable side dish. You can slice them to put on top of salads raw, or throw into an omelet for some gorgeous bright green color and flavor. You can use the green tip as a string to wrap other vegetables with, as a cute appetizer, much like how chives are used. You can sauté them as you would onions, for a slightly milder taste in a base for soups.
Along with their relative shallots, scallions can be traced back to the Greek askolonions, which are believed to originate from the town of Ashkelon, in modern-day Israel. Scallions have a small, underdeveloped white bulb at the base, where the mild onion flavor is most concentrated, and a long green stalk that can be used as a replacement for the [more expensive and less long-lasting] chive. They can last for a week in the crisper drawer of your fridge, or if you are neglectful with your produce, you can simply peel off the outer layer if it starts to yellow or wilt.
Or you can try to regrow them!
Here’s a simple how-to:
- Use most of the scallion as you normally would, but preserve the root end with some white intact
- Place root-side down in a mason (glass) jar filled with water, root side down. They will balance better if you put other scallion roots in the jar as well.
- Place on window sill, where they are exposed to light, and wait a week.
- You will see how fast they grow!! You will have more yummy green tip and onion-y white bulb soon!
You might not be able to repeat this more than once, but you can still stretch your dollar!
Now, let's get cooking! Learn to make your own caramelized spring onions and use them in everything you cook. Then go on to try all of these recipes.