Spring and summer are wonderful times to shop your local farmers market for a wide variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, including flavorful scallions. Depending on where you live, scallions may be available year round at farmers markets, but they’re typically at their peak in spring and summer months.
What Is a Scallion?
Scallions are a type of onion, but there are so many different types of onions that differentiating what’s what can be tricky. To clarify, green onions and scallions are the same thing except for their age — scallions are green onions that have been harvested very young, before their bulbs have had a chance to form. Typically harvested in the spring, spring onions, on the other hand, do have small bulbs at the bottom, so they are a bit more mature than scallions. If you’re planning to cook them, all three are usually interchangeable in recipes. However, if you’re going raw, keep in mind that there can be flavor differences, most notably that younger scallions are milder in flavor than spring or green onions.
How to Choose, Prep and Store Scallions
When you’re shopping for scallions, look for long, bright green stems with firm white bases that are just about the same thickness as the stems. Choose dry, healthy plants and avoid moist, slimy scallions with wilted or damaged leaves. Store your unwashed scallions for three to five days in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. To preserve freshness, only wash them right before use.
How to Cook with Scallions
Scallions have a mild oniony flavor profile, with just a little bit of bite. All parts of the scallion are edible except the roots. Scallions are common in lots of foods, especially Asian cuisine, and they can be enjoyed raw or cooked. They are delicious in omelettes and stir-fries, such as this Basil and Tomato Frittata or this Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl. Scallions can also be used as a topping to add a pop of flavor to fresh salads like this Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw, and to sandwiches, appetizers, soups and pasta dishes. They add wonderful flavor to sauces and dressings, such as in this simple, tasty recipe for Turkey-Mushroom Burgers with Scallion-Lemon Mayonnaise.
Though scallions are rarely eaten in large quantities on their own, adding more into your diet is an excellent way to get a boost of key micronutrients. Scallions are low in calories, free of fats, a good source of dietary fiber and rich in wide variety of key vitamins and minerals. Scallions are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K. They’re are also a source of folate, iron and manganese. Like other members of the allium (onion) family, scallions are a great source of sulfide and thiol compounds studied for their effects in decreasing total LDL (aka: “bad”) cholesterol.
Scallions (1 cup chopped, 100 grams) contain:
- 32 calories
- 1.83 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
- 7.34 grams of carbohydrates
- 2.6 grams of dietary fiber (10 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 18.8 milligrams of vitamin C (31 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 64 micrograms of folate (16 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 207 micrograms of vitamin K (259 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 997 IU of vitamin A (20 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 1.5 milligrams of iron (8 percent of the daily recommended value)
- 0.2 milligrams of manganese (8 percent of the daily recommended value)