Scallion/Spring Onion

Onions are onions, right? Apparently not! As a kid, they all looked white to me, especially after they were cut up. In the grocery store, there are usually 4 kinds displayed together–yellow, white, red, and sweet (Vidalia). However, none of these are scallions, green onions, or spring onions. Those are sold with the greens still attached, and they’re usually with the fresh herb bunches of parsley and cilantro.

Scallions and green onions seem to be the same thing, just by a different name. Both are so young that the bulb part of the onion hasn’t bulged out yet. Spring onions are more mature and have that characteristic round shape. The greens are milder than the whites, and the bite intensifies as the plant ages.

What does this all mean? I’m not sure. What I do know is I like the taste of onion, raw or cooked. Greens certainly have a different texture, and they seem to be used most often as a garnish. There probably isn’t a suitable substitute for raw greens. However, if the recipe calls only for the whites, I don’t think the variety matters much. Honestly, the distinction seems to be an overcomplication of the all-time simplest herb. Don’t even get me started on shallots and leeks…