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Green onions


Varieties

Green onions are actually immature onions that are pulled from the ground before a prominent bulb has formed and their tops are still green. Scallions are similar to green onions, but are harvested even younger than green onions while the base of the stem is still straight, before there is any sign of bulb growth. Both belong to the same family as garlic, leeks, shallots and chives. In a broader way, all onions are members of the Lily family, along with asparagus, tulips, the yucca plant and many another elegant wonder of nature.

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Storage

Store green onions away from odor-sensitive foods. Remove any rubber bands and any damaged leaves and store them in plastic bags in the crisper section of the refrigerator. They should last at least five days if not more. When preparing the green onions just be sure to wash them thoroughly and remove any soggy layers to expose the fresh green onion underneath.

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Origins and Culture

Green onions have been used in recipes going back to ancient times, by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Asians. There are references to spring onions in Chinese literature dating back over two thousand years. Green onions are the only member of the onion family commonly used in Japanese cooking, called negi--much longer than leeks, but skinny.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, chromium and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of manganese, molybdenum, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorous and copper.

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Basic Cooking Instructions

Green onions can be folded into mash potatoes, added to soups or salads, or even eaten raw along side sliced tomatoes, bread, cheese and salami, as is the custom in some parts of Europe. When eaten raw or lightly cooked, they impart a wonderfully vibrant, yet mild, flavor. Green onions add a subtle flavouring, where fully matured cooking onions can be overpowering.

Recipes will call for use of the bright green tops or the white base, or both. Generally the white base is cooked while the green tops are used as garnish or in cold preparations. In a pinch you can substitute the green part for chives.

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