onion-stalk

What Are the Different Types of Onion Stalks?

When you have a recipe that calls for scallions, green onions, spring onions or chives, it's referring to onion stalks. The flavor difference in these stalks is subtle, but it can make a difference in your recipes. All four belong to the allium family, and they grow bulbs at the base of the stalks.

Is There a Difference between Green Onions and Scallions?

When it comes to the onion stalk of a green onion and a scallion, they are the exact same thing. Scallions are actually the onion stalks of young onions. They have long, green stems attached to narrow, white bulbs. Most scallions still have roots on the bulbs. If you want to grow your own scallions, you can replant the onion bulbs in containers, and place them on a sunny windowsill. You’ll never have to buy scallions again.

The flavor of scallions is milder than onions. You can eat them raw or cook them. The bulbs are also edible, but they have a stronger onion flavor.

What Are Spring Onions

Although they look like scallions, spring onions are a more mature version of scallions. When growing spring onions, you plant them in the fall for harvesting in the spring, which is why they’re called, spring onions. They have rounder, plumper bulbs than scallion bulbs, as well as a stronger onion flavor. Since they have larger bulbs, many people use the bulbs whole for roasting or boiling. They produce a sweet, mellow taste.

Are Chives the Same as Scallions?

Both onions and chives belong to the onion family, but they are a different species. Onions are (Allium cepa), while chives are (Allium schoenoprasum). Here are a few of the differences between chives and green onions or scallions:

  • Chives are perennials, while onions are biennials.
  • Chives grow in clumps like herbs, while onions grow from individual bulbs.
  • Chives form flowers every year, while onions bloom the first year but not the second.
  • Chives produce stalks that are much thinner than onion stalks.

Even though chives and scallions are from different species of the allium family, they both add flavor to salads, soups, dips and many other foods. Chive stalks have a mild onion flavor. You can also grow them in pots in the house, just like scallions.

So, when you’re trying to figure out which onion stalk to use for your recipes, keep in mind whether you want the stronger flavor of spring onions or the milder taste of scallions or chives.