14 Interesting Facts About Spring Onions

Interesting Facts About Spring Onions

Introduction

Spring onions are a beloved vegetable that adds flavor and crunch to many dishes. With their crisp texture and mild, sweet onion flavor, it’s no wonder they are popular in cuisines around the world.

Spring onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are versatile vegetables that belong to the Allium genus. They have long, tender green leaves and small white bulbs that are both edible. While they are similar to regular bulb onions, spring onions are harvested early before the bulbs fully mature. This results in their sweeter taste and tender texture which makes them ideal for eating raw or cooking quickly.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most interesting facts about spring onions and learn about their history, varieties, uses, health benefits, and more! Read on to uncover 14 fascinating details about these delightful springtime vegetables.

Fresh green eschallots, spring onions at a farmer's market

1. They Have Many Names

Spring onions go by many names including scallions, green onions, salad onions, Welsh onions, Japanese bunching onions, and Allium fistulosum. This confusion in nomenclature comes from the fact that they belong to multiple Allium species. Some common varieties are Allium cepa, Allium fistulosum, and Allium ×proliferum.

2. Spring Onions Are Ancient

These versatile alliums have been cultivated for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt and China around 2,000 BC. They were spread through trade routes to Europe and prized by Greeks, Romans and medieval Europeans. The name “Welsh onion” does not indicate ties to Wales, but comes from the old English word “welisc” meaning foreign.

3. They Are Immature Onions

Unlike regular bulbing onions which are harvested when mature, spring onions are harvested early while still young. This results in their small bulbs and tender green tops. If left to mature longer, they would swell into larger bulbs like other onion varieties.

4. Spring Onions Are Two Main Types

The most common varieties of spring onion come from either A. cepa or A. fistulosum. Though similar, A. fistulosum types tend to have slightly larger bulbs and more tender greens.

5. They Have Mild, Sweet Flavor

Sliced, chopped spring onions

Due to being harvested young, spring onions lack the pungent bite of mature onions. Instead they have a fresh, sweet and delicate flavor. Both the white bulbs and green tops can be eaten and add great flavor.

6. Spring Onions Are Nutritious

These onions provide vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber. They also contain antioxidant compounds like quercetin and kaempferol that may offer health benefits.

7. They Have Medicinal Uses

In traditional medicine, spring onions were believed to provide benefits from treating colds to lowering blood pressure. Modern research also shows they may have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anticancer effects.

8. Spring Onions Are Very Versatile

These alliums can be eaten raw, pickled, grilled, sautéed or roasted. They are great in salads, sandwiches, stir fries, dips, soups and more! Both the greens and bulbs can be used.

9. They Are Used in Many Cuisines

Stir fry noodles with minced beef, spring onion and chillies on a black plate.

From Chinese stir-fries to Mexican salsas to Thai curries, spring onions are used in diverse cuisines around the world. They are especially common in Asian cooking.

10. They Are Easy to Grow

One of the easiest vegetables to grow, spring onions can be grown from seeds or sets. They are quick to mature and can be harvested multiple times throughout the season.

11. They Can Be Regrown

Don’t throw those roots away! Spring onion bottoms can be regrown in water or soil to yield more onions. Just place them in water or plant in soil with the roots down.

12. Spring Onions Are Good Companion Plants

Onion plantation in the vegetable garden.Green onions growing in the ground of the garden in the

When grown in the garden, spring onions are great companion plants for carrots, lettuce, brassicas, and tomatoes. Their allium punch helps deter pests.

13. They Have Symbolic Meaning

In some cultures, spring onions symbolize prosperity and good fortune. They are used in ritual and celebration dishes for the Lunar New Year and other holidays.

14. They Are One of the First Spring Crops

One of the first fresh vegetables ready for harvest in spring, spring onions announce the change of seasons. Spotting them at markets is a sure sign of spring.

Spring Onions FAQ

What are spring onions?

Spring onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are young onions harvested before their bulbs have fully matured. They have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to mature onions and are used in a variety of dishes worldwide.

Are the green tops of spring onions edible?

Yes, both the white bulbs and the tender green tops of spring onions are edible. They can be used to add a sweet and mild onion flavor to dishes, whether eaten raw or cooked.

What are the nutritional benefits of spring onions?

Spring onions are nutritious, providing vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. They also contain antioxidant compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol, which may offer health benefits.

Can spring onions be regrown from scraps?

Absolutely! The roots of spring onions can be placed in water or soil to regrow. Simply keep the roots intact and place them in water, or plant them in soil with the roots facing downwards.

How are spring onions used in cooking?

Spring onions are very versatile and can be eaten raw, pickled, grilled, sautéed, or roasted. They’re a great addition to salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, dips, and soups, enhancing flavors with their mild, sweet taste.

Conclusion

From their long history to their health benefits and gardening uses, spring onions have much to offer. Their versatility and bright flavor make them a star ingredient in springtime cooking. With this handy guide, you are now armed with 14 interesting facts about these delightful alliums. Next time you spot spring onions at the market, you can appreciate them even more knowing their rich history and uses.

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