The world of alliums is confusing since there are many different species, from chives and spring onions to leeks and bunching onions (Allium fistulosum). While regular onions (Allium cepa) are easy to identify, others, like scallions or green onions and shallots, are a little tricky to tell apart. So, what are scallions, and how are they different from other onion types?
Scallions are from the allium family, related to onions and garlic. They are delicious raw and cooked and are sometimes mistaken for shallots. They have a milder flavor than the typical white or red onion, we love to add them to stir-fry and stews, and they are the perfect garnish for a salad or side dish.
Their mild oniony taste is not the only reason to incorporate scallions into your diet. They are low in calories, contain no cholesterol, and are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, antioxidants, fiber, and minerals like calcium and potassium. Scallions are also the easiest veggies to grow in a home garden year-round.
What are Scallions and are They Simple to Grow?
There is nothing quite like an onion flavor to enhance a meal, whether you add them to an Asian dish or like them raw on a burger. Of course, it’s easy to tell a red, white, and yellow onion apart, but what about scallions vs green onions?
Many people think there is a difference between scallions and green onions, which causes confusion when picking up onions at the grocery store. Are green onions the same as scallions? Find out what scallions are, how to grow your own at home, and prepare them in a tasty recipe.
What is the Difference between Scallions and Green Onions?
You discover a new recipe that you’re eager to try, and one of the ingredients is green onions. However, your grocery store has plenty of bulb onions, shallots, and scallions but no green onions. Is there a difference between scallions and green onions?
First, let’s put all the confusion aside. Green onions and scallions are the same thing. A scallion is an allium, just like garlic, onions, shallots, and leeks, that many people call green onions, but there is one difference between scallions and green onions.
You harvest a scallion at an early stage of growth, while green onions spend more time in the ground and have a slightly wider white bulb than scallions. In other words, scallions are younger green onions.
What are Scallions?
Now that you understand that a scallion is the same thing as a green onion, you may be wondering, what is a scallion? Discover what this veggie is, what it looks like, and how it tastes to help you use it in the proper recipes.
There is no difference between scallions vs green onions – it’s just a matter of what you prefer to call them. They grow in clumps with hollow, dark green leaves. The green stalks are tube-like, and the white bulb or base has straight sides rather than round, with off-white root threads that protrude from the bottom.
Both the green and white parts of scallions are edible, and each section has a different taste. The green part has a milder flavor and is ideal for garnish, and the white area is more oniony with a sharper taste and is suitable for cooking since it has a fibrous texture.
Scallion plants have a rapid growth rate and are ready to eat 60 to 80 days after sowing seeds. However, regrowing them from leftovers cuts this time considerably, and the green tops are ready to harvest within a week. You typically plant during the spring, and they thrive in everything from raised beds and containers to a garden bed.
How to Grow Scallions vs Green Onions
Though they have different names, green onions and scallions are the same, and they are super simple to regrow in the garden. All you need is the leftover white root section of the veggie, a glass of water, and a pot of soil to produce new scallions throughout the year.
When growing scallions from scraps, begin by slicing off the ends of the scallions, leaving the roots intact. Fill a jar or glass with enough water to cover the roots and place the scallion section, root side down, in the water. Place the jar on a sunny windowsill and refresh the water as needed to keep the roots wet.
After a few days, the green shoots appear, and the scallions are ready for transplanting when the shoots reach four to five inches in length.
Repot them in a small container of potting mix and set them back on the windowsill or outside in a warm, sunny area. Snip off what you want from the green stems of the young onions to encourage the cut end to continue growing.
Caring for Scallions in the Outdoor Garden
While scallions are an easy-growing garden vegetable, they still want attention after you plant them. Explore their fertilizing needs, how much to water your plants, and common problems you may encounter in the scallion garden.
Scallion plants have shallow roots, and spreading mulch over the bed prevents them from drying while stopping weeds from taking over the garden and stealing nutrients from your veggies.
For optimal plant growth, water your scallions about an inch each week so that the ground is moist and not soggy. Prior to planting scallions in the garden, work a balanced fertilizer into the top three to six inches of soil.
Some pests that are a problem to green onions are thrips, onion maggots, and nematodes. Thrips are very tiny and sometimes tricky to spot. If you notice the onion tops developing silvery-white blotches or streaks, or plant deformity, you may have thrips. Use your garden hose to spray them with a jet of water to eliminate them.
Onion maggots attack the green onion bulbs rather than the leaves, causing the entire plant to die. The simplest way to stop these pests from destroying your entire scallion crop is to pull the infected plant from the garden.
Nematodes are microscopic soil dwellers that inject toxins into the root system, causing the onion tops to turn yellow with black tips. As with onion maggots, the sure way to eradicate them is to pull the damaged onion from the garden.
Several fungal diseases affect scallions, including scallion rust, downy mildew, and onion smut. Rust starts as whitish or yellow spots on the leaves that eventually turn bright reddish. It stunts the plant’s growth and spreads by wind-borne spores.
Downy mildew causes whitish gray patches on the leaves, while onion smut attacks young seedlings, causing blister-like lesions near the plant’s base and streaks on the leaves.
The most effective way to prevent these fungal diseases is to water your plants at the ground to avoid getting the foliage wet and splashing dirt onto the leaves, plant your onions with plenty of air circulation, and perform yearly crop rotation.
Using Scallions to Make Pancakes
There are many ways to use scallions or green onions in recipes, including stir-fry, stew, soup, and salad. However, we like to incorporate the mild onion flavor in pancakes. As strange as this sounds, the result is a savory, pan-fried bread that perfectly complements any entree.
Combine the flour and water and knead it into a smooth dough. Cover the dough ball lightly in oil, and cover the bowl with a damp cloth while the dough rests for half an hour. Cut the dough into four parts, roll each section into a thin rectangle about twelve by nine inches in size, and lightly brush the top with oil.
Finely chop the scallions, and sprinkle the chopped scallions and desired amount of kosher salt over the top of the oiled dough.
If you don’t have any green onions, consider using chives as a substitute for scallions. There is not a significant difference in chives versus green onions for this recipe. Start with the long end and roll the dough up tightly to form one long snake shape.
Cut each roll of dough in half, roll them into coils, and let them rest for fifteen minutes. After resting, pat each dough coil into a flat pancake, and cook them in an oiled skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes.
Flip the scallion pancakes over and cook them for two more minutes until the edges are golden brown and slightly crispy.
Scallions or green onions are the ideal meal enhancer if you love the taste of onions without the stronger flavor. The greatest thing about them is they are simple to regrow from the parts you usually toss in the trash.
What are scallions is a question many people have, and understanding what a scallion is goes a long way when preparing the perfect recipes, so why not share our scallion guide and growing tips with the onion-lovers in your life on Pinterest and Facebook?