Green onions are an easy way to add taste and texture to just about any savory dish. A lot of recipes call for them as a garnish, but green onions are so much more than just an afterthought. To know how to best use green onions, you have to know how to buy good ones, how to store them and how to cut green onions for any dish. Once you have all the green onion knowledge, you're on your way to adding the perfect pop of flavor to your meal.
How to buy and store green onions
The first thing to know is that green onions and scallions are the same thing. You may see either sign at the grocery store, where you can find them year-round. Whatever name is on the sign, what you're looking for are white bulbs that are straight rather than round and have short roots on the end and long, thin dark green tops. Green onions are different than spring onions, which have a much larger onion bulb.
Buy onions that have crisp, bright green leaves and firm, white bulbs. Store them wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator in the crisper drawer for up to five days.
How to cut green onions for any dish
First, wash the green onions. Rinse off any dirt and remove any wilted tops or slimy skins on the white part of the onion. Next, lay the onions down on a cutting board and trim off the root end by slicing through the onion just above the roots, and then trim about two inches off the top of the green ends.
You can eat both the white part and the green part, and you can eat them raw or cooked. Most often, you will add the white part of the onion to other ingredients during the cooking process and use the raw green part of the onion as a garnish or add in at the very end of preparation.
Use a sharp knife and cut the scallions in a rocking motion, cutting the onion into small pieces from the white end all the way up. If you're not cooking the onions at all (using them in salsas or salads or as a garnish), cut them into slices about 1/8-inch thick. You can then add the sliced onions to green salads, deviled eggs, potato salad or as a garnish on almost any meat dish.
If you plan to cook them in something like a veggie stir fry or fried rice, cut the green onions into 1-inch slices. For these larger slices, you can cut the green onions on the bias, which just means you cut them at a 45-degree angle. It doesn't change the taste at all, but if you're trying to impress someone, it adds an elegant touch. You can also add green onions to scrambled eggs just before you cook them.
Once you've cut the green onions into slices, you can continue to chop them up into smaller pieces. The little green bits of are a great substitute for chives, with a mild onion flavor that adds great taste to potatoes and sour cream dips.