Scallions, sometimes called bunching onions, are often mistakenly identified as spring onions or green onions. Younger and milder than spring onions, which are actually immature onions, scallions can be identified by straight sides at their white base, with a small bulb-like end no more than three-fourths of an inch in diameter.
Photo by Sue Ade/Morris News Ser
When I was "marketing" this week, I heard the gentleman standing next to me say to his wife, "Wow. Look at the size of these scallions."
His wife looked at him and said, "Honey, those are not scallions, they are spring onions."
The husband looked a little puzzled and I knew just what he was thinking: Isn't a spring onion and a scallion the same thing?
His confusion is shared by many of us because, in this country, words like "spring onion," "green onion" and "scallion" are commonly used interchangeably, without consideration for the difference in their personalities.
Spring onions (or green onions) are actually immature onions that are harvested when their bulbs are about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. If they were allowed to grow, they would develop into a regular onion.
Scallions, on the other hand, are younger than spring onions. They have straight sides at their base, with small bulb-like ends that typically measure no more than three-fourths of an inch in diameter.
Scallions are also milder than spring onions, making them ideal for eating raw in salads, as garnishes in soups and in a variety of Mexican and stirfry Asian dishes.
Although scallions (or whatever other name they are sold by) are available year-round, spring and summer are the peak seasons for enjoying farm-fresh scallions.
Look for scallions that have a firm white base and bright green heads.
Store them unwashed (with the rubber bands removed) in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.
If stored properly, expect fresh scallions to keep about a week.
Sue Ade is a gourmet baker and collector of vintage cooking utensils and cookbooks.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 683-0375.
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