Spring onions, sometimes called scallion, green onion, table onion, salad onion, onion stick, long onion, baby onion, precious onion, yard onion, are onions with underdeveloped bulbs. They tend to not taste as intense as fully matured onions making eating them raw on a salad or in a sandwich rather enjoyable.
Spring onions come from far eastern Europe and Asia and are closely related to shallots. They get their name from the same place. A greek word, ασκολόνιον (‘askolonion’).
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Amaryllidaceae
- Subfamily: Allioideae
- Genus: Allium
- Species: A. Fistulosum
- Binomial name: Allium fistulosum
Spring onion Trivia
- The green tops of spring onions can be used like chives.
- Scallion oil is sometimes used. Made from the greens. They are cooked and the emulsified oil is used as a garnish.
- Spring onions go by many names around the world. Names include green onion, table onion, salad onion, onion stick, long onion, baby onion, precious onion, yard onion, gibbon, syboe and shallot. Scallion and its many names can be mistakenly used for the young plants of the shallot.
- Anti-oxidants: help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
- Anti-Histamine: drugs that treat allergic rhinitis and other allergies.
Spring onion Buying Guide
Look for spring onion with crisp top leaves with no wilting what so ever. For a sweeter onion, small bulbs are your best bet. For a more pungent taste, go for bigger bulbs.
Spring onion Production & Farming in Texas
Spring onions can grow up to 20″ in height. They require well-drained soil and lots of sunlight. They can be either grown from seed or from onion sets. They require frequent irrigation.
Crops of green onions are planted in dense rows with 18-20 seed lines filling 80″ wide beds. The seeds are planted 0.5″ deep. Because of this, it is essential that soil is well prepared and kept moist from planting, through to germination. After managing the task of keeping the soil consistently moist, germination should take up to 10 days. Their and annual crop with an optimal temperature of 68-77°F.
Because spring onions need to be harvested by hands, lots of production has moved to Mexico because of cheap labor and long, sunny days.
During the early stages, growth is slow, and the onions are easily outcompeted by weeds. Weeds aren’t the only thing that impacts growth, however. Insects, fungus and diseases can often be an issue.
Herbicides are used both before and after the plants have emerged to ensure fast-growing weeds do not overtake.
Insects that impact green onion crops include thrips, maggots, bulb mites, leafminers, and armyworms. Other than using soil and foliar pesticides, growers have found that if you allow all organic material to completely decompose it will reduce the risk of any infestations.
Fungal and bacterial can be a big issue as well. Most commercial growers must follow guidelines for sanitation, crop rotation, use of resistant varieties, and frequent monitoring.
Although grown in the majority of the world, spring onions are native to Asia. China is the leading producer, followed bt India, the US then Turkey.
In the US, different types of onions are grown in over 20 different states. They gained popularity in the US market because of the mild taste. California leads the nation in green onion production. They are grown mainly in Monterey, Riverside, and Ventura Counties.
Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington are other states with large commercial green onion production. In Texas, about 92 percent of onion crop goes to the fresh market, while 8% is processed.
Once harvested, bunches of green onions are placed in various sized cartons in a field. The most common being 20lbs. The size always depends on the destination. Green onions destined for export are packed in different sized cartons such as 11, 13, or 28 pounds.
In-store you’ll find them either loose, bunched up and wrapped in a rubber band or in a sealed plastic bag.
Enjoying Spring Onions
Green onions have a short shelf life. Stored properly they hold about 7-10 days. They should be stored at 32F in 95-100% humidity.
Top ice, covered by plastic film can also be applied to retain moisture content and further preserve harvested onions.
Canning and pickling is also a common practice.
Although good to eat raw in salads, salsas, and Asian dishes, they can be cooked in stir-fries, noodle & seafood dishes, sandwiches, and curries. They are also gilled whole like in a dish enjoyed in Mexico and the south, cebollitas. The spring onions are sprinkled with salt, grilled whole and eaten with rice and cheese and topped with lime juice.
The list of health benefits for these stalks is long. That combined with low levels of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol make for a very healthy vegetable. They are known to contain certain anti-oxidants with anti-histamine properties. They can reduce inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels and melt nasty phlegm from a cold.