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Tasty Tuesday by Anna Grindeland, RD, CD: Chives, green onions, scallions and other onions

Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

There is a lot of buzz going around Whitman lately about onions… green, spring, scallions, and such—“What’s the difference?” … So I thought now would be a great time to do some research and clear up the misconceptions.

All of the vegetables mentioned below are members of the very large onion family. Some can be used interchangeably in a recipe, based on your tastes or what is available because they all have similar taste and uses. Firstly,

Chives— Chives are the smallest of this variety and are grown as a perennial herb. They sport hollow, long blades without bulbs. Chives can be eaten raw or as a garnish, most commonly seen atop a baked potato. Try growing this herb inside or outside in your herb garden, and enjoy harvesting them many times over through the year.

Green Onions— Green onions and Scallions are the same thing! They are harvested for both their flavorful stems and bulbs (the white and green part), although technically a bulb, is just the bottom end of the stalk. Green onions are an annual plant because, unlike chives, the roots are dug up when harvested. Tasty Trick—If you want to get the most out of your green onions, store bulb-side down in a glass of water (like you would fresh cut flowers). This will keep the onion stalk fresh, and even grow back some of what you cut off!

Spring Onions— Spring Onions are the largest of this variety, and the most akin to white onions in terms of taste and usefulness. “Spring” onions are planted in the late autumn and harvested in the spring, giving them their name. They have a sweeter, mellower tasting bulb than green onions, but the green stalks may offer you more flavor than its smaller cousin.

Leeks— Leeks are much larger than the above members of the onion family. Common in Asian and Mediterranean dishes, leeks make an excellent addition to stir frys and soups. Their thick white bulbs are more commonly used for their onion-like qualities, but the greens chopped and sautéed are excellent. Watch out for Leeks used in the Harvest Home café!

Ramps (Wild Leeks)— Ramps are wild leeks. Smaller and more pungent, these are rare to find in stores and even famer’s markets, due to their wildness. With the foodie popularity of ramps growing, mushroom hunters might have more company on the mountains this Spring.

I would be lying if I gave you a recommendation on how to eat ramps—I have yet to try one! Foragers tell me they will chop and mix them with egg dishes, in ground venison to flavor burgers or meat balls, and raw atop a spring salad.

If you are a ramp forager and would like to share some of your culinary uses (or ramps!) with me, I would be glad to hear from you.

For the accompanying Tasty Tuesday Recipe, I am referring readers to one of my favorite Foodie Blogs for 5 recipes! Enjoy!

The Kitchn: “5 Ways to Use Up a Bunch of Scallions”

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The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.