Difference Between Scallions and Green Onions

Main Difference – Scallions vs Green Onions

The onion is a biennial or a perennial vegetable. The onion plant has an edible fan of hollow, bluish-green leaves, and a bulb. It is grown and used around the world as a food item. It is a main ingredient in soups, curries, stews, and savory dishes. Additionally, it can be eaten raw or can be used to make pickles or chutneys. Onion bulbs are pungent when chopped, and contain certain chemical substances which irritate the eyes. Common onions are normally available in three color varieties such as yellow, red and white. Young onion plants can be gathered before bulb formation occurs and used whole as green onions or scallions. Green onions are considered mature than a scallion because it contains immature white bulb with long green stalks. This is the main difference between scallions and green onions. However, in some countries, both scallions and green onions are same, and it is difficult and highly controversial to distinguish the difference between them. Both scallions and green onions have culinary value and are commonly consumed in raw or cooked form. Scallions share many similarities with green onions, but they also have some differences. The purpose of this article is to highlight the difference between scallions and green onions.

What are Scallions

Scallions are an immature type of onions that contain long white stem ends that do not swell out. They are considered as the youngest onion type because they do not have bulbs. They do not have an  intense flavor as regular, matured onions leaves and bulbs. Scallions are mainly used in raw forms for salads, food decoration, soups, and bakery items. It is mainly used as a decorative item in food dishes. They are usually available year-round; they have a bright colored, undamaged leaves, and firm stem ends. Scallions have various alternative names through the world such as table onion, onion stick, salad onion, long onion, baby onion, yard onion, precious onion, gibbon, syboe, or scaly onion.

Main Difference - Scallions vs Green Onions

What are Green Onions

Green onions, on the other hand, look similar to scallions, but they have small immature onion bulbs at the base. They are usually available year-round with a bright color, undamaged leaves, hollow stems and white bulbs. These onions come from the bulb-producing onion varieties and are considered as more mature types of scallions. They have a small, not completely developed white bulb end, with long green hollow stalks. Both parts are edible. Green onions are mild in taste than large, matured bulb onions. Green onions are sweeter and softer than normal matured onions; at the same time, they have a more intense flavor profile than scallions. The green onion bulbs can either be red or white, depending on the onion variety.

Difference Between Scallions and Green Onions

Difference Between Scallions and Green Onions

The differences between scallions and green onions can be divided into following categories. They are; 

Definition

Scallions are onions taken from the earth/soil before the onion bulb has formed, typically eaten raw in a salad.

Green onions are onions taken from the earth/soil before the onion bulb has matured, typically eaten raw in a salad.

Maturity

Scallions are tender/immature than green onions.

Green onions are mature than scallions.

Onion Bulbs

Scallions do not have a miniature onion bulb.

Green onions have a miniature onion bulb.

Taste

Scallions have a milder taste than green onions as well as most other types of mature onions.

Green onions have more intense flavor profile than scallions.

Postharvest Losses

Scallions have more postharvest damages compared to green onions.

Green onions have less postharvest damages compared to scallions.

Uses

Scallions are typically eaten raw and diced; freshly harvested scallions are used in salads, salsas, soup, noodle, seafood dishes, sandwiches, curries or as part of a stir fry.

Green onions are typically eaten raw in a salad, or they are cooked, grilled or roasted.Difference Between Scallions and Green Onions - infographic

In conclusion, both scallions and green onions are freshly harvested very tender vegetables. The onion bulb survives unfavorable seasonal conditions. Nonetheless, the most distinguishing feature of scallions and green onions are their harvesting time.

References:

Brewster, James L. (1994). Onions and other vegetable Alliums (1st ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 5. ISBN 0-85198-753-2.

Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy. In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah. Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.

Yang, J.; Meyers, K. J.; Van Der Heide, J.; Liu, R. H. (2004). Varietal Differences in Phenolic Content and Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Onions. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52 (22): 6787–6793.

Image Courtesy:

“Spring Onion” by Donovan Govan. – Image taken by me using a Canon PowerShot G3 (reference 7912).. via

“GreenOnions” by Jonathunder – Own work. via

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