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Green onions


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All of my cooking life, when I've used green onions, I've trimmed the roots and started chopping from the white end. Unless a recipe specifies whites only, I use the white part and the tender green parts, stopping well short of the dark green ends.

I was recently cooking dinner with a friend of mine, however, and asked him to chop some green onions for potato salad. He washed the onions, trimmed off a bit of nastiness in the greens, and then started chopping at the green end. I wasn't really paying attention until he asked me if I wanted the white part too. Huh?

I swear it never occurred to me, despite the fact that I've always referred to "green onions," that the green part might be a crucial element in cooking. My friend explained that in Cajun and Creole cooking, it's the only part that counts. Who knew?

What part of green onions do you use? White, green or both? Most important, which end do you start at when chopping?

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It all depends. Some recipes will ask you to cook the white part and add the green as a garnish, some ask for both white and green, I have never seen a recipe that asked for only one or the other but I'm not saying it couldn't happen. If I am going to be using both the white and green part together then I trim them, cut them in half and then chop both white and green at the same time - - don't ask me why - just the way I do it.

Edit to add:

I see that on re-reading your post the green part only is used in some cuisines - guess I've never cooked much that is Cajun or Creole.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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I trim off the roots, start chopping at the white end and usually stop when the green resembles chives. I slice the softer part very finely to use when I am adding fresh herbs or as a garnish. I have taken to saving the grassy tops in a bag in the freezer to be used in roasting beds or tossed into a broth or stock near the end, tying them in a loose know for easy fishing out. This is particularly true with the long untrimmed ones from the farmer's market.

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I do same as you, all the whites & the light green bits, then even though I know some people use the green tops, I hesistate to as it somehow seems "wrong"...illogical, I know but I also don't like their stronger taste & the texture all that much. Chopped really finely I could be convinced to use them in place of chives.

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Green onions are indeed a staple in my native cuisine, and some people do just use the green tops. I was taught to trim off the bottom inch (the part with the rootlets) of storebought onions, which you then plant in a sunny spot (ground or pot). Within a short time, you'll have fresh onion tops at your disposal...here's blog post I wrote about this practice, with pics of my backyard green onion crop, grown from trimmings. In cajun/creole home cooking, most people just chop & use the whole onion, not bothering to separate the white from the green.

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I use the white part in salads, or if it's gonna be exposed to a little heat. I dislike biting into raw onion, in my food (outside of a bit in salad) so I treat the white part the same way.

I save the light and dark green for garnish, and stirring in towards the end. The only part I don't use is the fuzzy root part, and the draggled dried out tips.

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Green onions are indeed a staple in my native cuisine, and some people do just use the green tops.  I was taught to trim off the bottom inch (the part with the rootlets) of storebought onions, which you then plant in a sunny spot (ground or pot).  Within a short time, you'll have fresh onion tops at your disposal...here's blog post I wrote about this practice, with pics of my backyard green onion crop, grown from trimmings.  In cajun/creole home cooking, most people just chop & use the whole onion, not bothering to separate the white from the green.

I have started doing exactly that in the spring and then cut the side shoots when I need green onions. It is much faster than starting from seeds or bulbs and ultimately it takes less space and energy too. This means that in spring and summer I only use the green part of my green onions.

In fall and winter, it's all good of course... but even then I often prefer the look of the little green rings of a thinly sliced green onions green top.

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When I was younger and more inexperienced, I would only use the green parts and throw away the white. I'm not sure why I ever did that (though I used to hate onions when I was young). I'm older and wiser now, and I love onions, so I use the whole thing, but I still start chopping from the green end. I've also used the greens from regular onions in a pinch, though you have to chop them much finer because they are so big and tend to get tough.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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There are variants by dish and cuisine, but the chef-instructor at the French Culinary Institute who recently schooled me on chopping scallions insisted on the following procedure:

1. Wash thoroughly and trim off the nasty ends of the white parts as well as the top inch or two of the green parts. It's possible to do this with a large number at a time.

2. Working with a small bunch at a time, start chopping finely at the green ends. When you get to the denser part of the green, where it's almost starting to transition into white, stop.

3. Take each one and quarter lengthwise, or halve it if it's a very thin one.

4. Chop the rest finely.

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I do the same thing, only in a different direction--wash, trim, then line up on a cutting board. Split the white ends in half (lengthwise), stopping when you get to the green part. Stack as many as your hand will fit around, then chop from the white end to the green end. This way, you don't have to stop once you start chopping.

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Green onions are a must to top gumbo and red beans in our house. Mainly the green is used for that, but the white part might get cooked up with the trinity. The green tops also always top cold soba noodles.

I start chopping at the green end and if I am not going to use it all, I will freeze what is left. As long as it goes in a dish where it will be cooked it is fine.

I had decent luck putting the root ends in water and cutting the greens as they grew. I will have to try planting them next. Great idea!

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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I had decent luck putting the root ends in water and cutting the greens as they grew. I will have to try planting them next. Great idea!

I do that, too. They grow for a second time use with good quality. After you snap those -- the 3rd growth is very light colored and the quality is about gone -- just use that for salads. After the 3rd growth, time to put the little things in the compost bin.

Rhonda

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I trim top and bottom and use the whole thing. 

I'm with Pam. I use the whole kit and kaboodle. In salads, when sauténg, whatever.

My mom used to finely chop up the green part as a poor man's substitute for chives to use on our baked potatoes. Now that we can finally find chives in our grocery stores, we still use the tops of the green onion for our baked potatoes. Go figure. :laugh:

 

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