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Are Scallions and Green Onions The Same Thing?

I know they are close, but are they the same to you? I couldn't find a definitive answer through the google, so I thought I'd ask all of you. Leeks and chives need not apply.

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  1. No. Scallions are more intense in flavor than regular yellow onions, less sweet, but not garlicky. Green onions (scallions) have a less intense and sweeter/fresher flavor than either.

    4 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        I think pasuga was confused about the OP question, and meant to write shallot in the first line of his/her reply.

        1. re: greygarious

          You're right, confused, sorry. Had a couple glasses of wine last night. <g> The word should definitely have been "shallots."

          1. re: pasuga

            that's OK. I'd had a couple of beers when I posted the topic. :)

    1. "The missus always fixes a plate of relish with them little carrot sticks. You know, olives, pickles, scallions. Most folks call them green onions, but they're really scallions..."

      6 Replies
        1. re: chuckku

          Over a year later, somebody finally gets the reference...

          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            Is there more than one routine using that line? I know it from an old Stan Freberg parody of Dragnet, but I dont remember it including the "Love ya have ya" line.

            1. re: Fydeaux

              His partner says that when he's inviting Friday over to the house during one of the bits where he's talking about the relish tray. I think he repeats the line about the scallions at least twice, possibly three times during the whole piece.

              Stan Freberg is a personal hero.

              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                "Did You know that, Joe?"
                "Know what?"
                "That most people call 'em green onions but they're really scallions."

                OK, that IS the source. To this day, whenever anyone in my family mentions either, someone else will pop in with "You know, most people..."

                I'm a big Freberg fan also. "Today the pit, tomorrow the wrinkles!"

        2. Yes, they are the same thing.

          1. As a kid they were also called 'scunions'

            1 Reply
            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              My grandmother called them that, too. Since English wasn't her native language, I always assumed she had made the word up by combining "scallion" and "onion." Everyone else I knew called them scallions. I don't make a distinction between scallions and green onions; they are one and the same.

            2. one and the same, I think it just depends on where you're from. I grew up knowing them as scallions, my dh calls them green onions.

              1. And in Rhode Island, some people call them "rare ripes." And I have no idea why.

                1 Reply
                1. re: escondido123

                  I don't know why either but that term used to be used in New York also.

                2. http://www.gardeningcentral.org/scall...
                  this says there is a slight difference and why I thought to ask CH'ers.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bbqboy

                    That short article is addressing that fact that scallion is sometimes used as Americans would use shallot. But as long as we are talking about a long green onion without a distinct bulb, the difference between green onion and scallion is at most a vague.

                  2. I believe they are the same

                    1. what a scallion is is regional. for instance in australia what they call a scallion here in the US we call a shallot

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: thew

                        That's interesting because in Italian a shallot is called scalogno, which you would think was scallion but isn't.

                      2. I have always thought they were synonyms.

                        1. similar, but NOT the same. A scallion has a finer, tighter, rounder stem, where a green onion's is wider, and almost oval, more fiberous

                          1. At a practical level, regardless whether the recipe calls for green onions or scallions (in the USA at least), there is only one thing in the ordinary grocery that fits the bill. Spring onion is an equivalent term.

                            In some groceries (and farmers markets) you can find alternatives. For example there are Mexican onions, bunches with green stems, but a more bulbous base. Or Asian long onions (Japanese Nage Negi). Or the Catalan calcot https://oneforkonespoon.wordpress.com...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: paulj

                              paulj is so right on this...I have never gone into a store and seen two separate bins with one labeled "scallions" and the other "green onions."

                            2. I grow a wide variety of onions. So here is a longer answer :)

                              Almost any onion can be a "green onion"..they are essentially "baby onions". Some varieties are better for pulling them young. If you pile up the dirt around them a little before pulling them- you get more of the white part. If you let them go a bit- the white part gets bigger around, if you leave it in the ground- most can become a round onion.

                              BUT, Some varieties are specifically crafted to just be green onions (scallions) these are what you buy in the store. I like a variety called "guardsman" they are designed to grow quick with nice long, slender, green tops. These are what most would call a scallion.

                              BTW, you can do the same with any garlic too. "Green garlic" is just baby garlic. Delicious.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sedimental

                                And at our Farmers' Market, they call that last item "Garlic Scallions."

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  Yes, I've heard that name for them too.
                                  I do overkill on different onions, green onions, garlics, shallots, chives and leeks. They can all taste and look sooooo different. The scapes, tops and flowers are delicious too.

                              2. They are different in this sense:

                                Scallions are picked so young that they have not formed a bulbous-shaped bulb.

                                Green onions (the "green" here means "fresh" as opposed to onions that have been cured for longer storage) are more mature, to the point that they have a bulbous-shaped bulb, but are still harvested to be eaten fresh, with their greens. Vidalia onions are green onions sold without their greens. Storage onions (yellow, red or white) have their greens removed and are cured for longer term storage.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Karl S

                                  who makes that distinction between no-bulb and bulb? Cookbook authors? Grocers? Gardeners?

                                  The small bulb version isn't very common in groceries, though in recent years I've seen them labeled as Mexican (spring) onions. I may have also seen them listed as Mexican salad onions.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    http://www.vidaliaonion.org/ You must of meant something else when you said "Vidalia onions are green onions sold without their greens."
                                    Vidalia's are close to a yellow, red, or white onion - but they have a sweeter flavor and are from Vidalia, GA.

                                  2. We are just back from Barcelona where Calcots are in season. They are essentially huge scallions (no bulb).
                                    They are cooked by grilling over wood or coal. The charred outer layer is peeled off and the tender part is dipped into a sauce and eaten by tilting your head back. You wear a bib to keep the juices and sauce off of your clothes. Sometimes the bib works.

                                    Sorry for digressing!!

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      Any clue as to how the Calcots are produced? Are they a special variety, or is it just the growing conditions. I've seen pictures of them being pulled out of the ground in closely packed bunches, suggesting that they are grown in a way that encourages vertical growth rather than forming bulbs.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        No clue! The restaurant had piles of them that were in bunches of a dozen or so. They served them in a clay roof tile with a very interesting dipping sauce.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          It is the growing conditions. They are a spring treat as they are onions that are overwintered in the ground. Seeding onions close together can help discourage bulbing.

                                        2. re: Motosport

                                          Huge scallions without bulbs sounds like leeks. Is a calcot a kind of leek? I have never been able to sort out the correct name for what I most often see sold as "garlic chives". Regular chives are tubular and hollow. What I am referring to has long, flat, dark green straps that can be close to a half inch wide, tapering to points at the tips, about 16" long, or longer. There is a narrower, thinner, rounder stem end but whatever root or bulb there is has been cut off. They have a mild onion/garlic flavor and I use them as I would scallion. I know garlic scapes are twisty and tubular but green garlic vs. garlic greens vs. garlic chives has me flummoxed. It's all good, though!

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Take a look at the picture I posted.
                                            According to the almighty internet: Scallions and green onions are one and the same. They will develop a bulb and become a mature onion.
                                            Definitely not a leek.

                                            1. re: Motosport

                                              Okay here's the "official" answer (confusing as it is)

                                              1. Technically the Scallion is the young form of the bunching or Welsh onion. Allium fistulosum (Which does not in fact grow in Wales) as oppsed to the bulbing onion which is Allium Cepa. However as the two taste virtually identical the name is often used interchangaby for both. The Welsh onion is also known as the bunching onion since, left on its own, it will form large clumps that are virtually perrenial.
                                              2. Chives are Allium schoenoprasum and are small onion like plants whose leaves have round cross sections. Garlic Chives are Allium tuberousum and have leaves which have flattened cross section. the latter taste like garlic and are a common ingrediant in Asiam cusines, where they are sometimes called Chinese Leeks though the true leek is Allium ampeloprasum var porrum. To muddy the water even further the negi or Japanese onion which looks like a leek, is actually a kind scallion as it is also a fistulosum. Allium ampeloprasum is also the species that gives us Elephant Garlic not to be confused with "true" garlic Allium sativa.
                                              okay that shoud be confusing enough

                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                And, in some areas (like the Northeast), the young form of Allium fistulosum is called scallion while the fresh, uncured bulbous form (at various stages of immaturity or maturity) of Allium cepa with its greens is called green onion. Scallions are available year-round but green onions only in the late spring or early summer. YMMV.

                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                  In NE, are the bulbous green onions used in a distinctive way? Are there recipes that use them in contrast to scallions or or the cured ones?

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    I lived in RI for 25 years and whether the label said green onions, scallions or rare ripes, they always looked the same. With the advent of Farmers' Markets that may all have changed, but that was my experience as of 10 years ago.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Well, they are not long-cooked. They can be used raw, and the bulbs can be cooked somewhat. They are like Vidalia onions but with the greens - that is, they need to be kept refrigerated and have a less sharp (which translates into seeming more sweet but isn't necessarily), less complex flavor profile than storage onions (hence, they don't benefit from long cooking).

                                              2. re: greygarious

                                                On the episode of her PBS show that I saw yesterday, Lidia Bastianich said that if the greens are tubular and hollow, like a straw, it's in the onion family, but that if the greens are flat and strap-like, it's in the garlic family. I realize they are all alliums but that's an easy way to pre-determine the way the allium greens will taste.

                                              3. re: Motosport

                                                I saw something similiar on a No Reservations show set in Spain. I was so intrigued, I roasted several bunches in my oven - no comparison to what they ate in Spain, I'm sure - but nevertheless, incredibly good.

                                              4. In my opinion - scallions, green onions, & spring onions are the same thing. A non-bulbing onion plant where the stem is the usable part. No onion bulb present.

                                                Now around here we frequently see "baby onions", which have the lovely usable scallion-type top greens, but have a small bulb at the end (golf-ball size or smaller). These can be Vidalias, regular yellow or white onions, or red onions. They're frequently grilled whole - stem & all. But these are - again, my opinion - completely different from scallions/green onions/spring onions, which are specifically grown from non-bulb-producing stock.

                                                6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Breezychow

                                                      cool! I'm in Southern Oregon. I didn't realize terminology was so regional when I asked the original question. :)

                                                      1. re: Breezychow

                                                        Actaully now that I think of it in my area, "spring onion" is used to refer to the weedy allium that grows wild in our lawns and gardens (i'm fairly sure that plants actual identity is crow garlic, Allium vineale) leading to some confusion, (as that plant is not pleasant to eat)

                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                          Around here those are just known as "wild onions". Some foragers like them, but they're way too strong for me.

                                                          And although somewhat toxic to livestock (who normally don't eat them), I once owned a horse who loved the darn things, & when I'd bring him from the field, his exhalations were enough to knock you on your butt - even if you were an onion lover - lol!

                                                          1. re: Breezychow

                                                            Sound a little like a Morgan horse I used to know, who always suprised me as to how mellow and calm it was.........until the day I took a look and saw how much wild chamomile it was chowing down on daily!

                                                            I suppose that name makes more sense, though of course there are multiple spieces of "wild onions" in this country of varying edibility. Some people might even consider such things as ramps and bear's garlic as "wild onions". Plus of course they have a blub structure far closer to that of garlic than onions (a cluster of small cloves each in a hard shell, as opposed to a multilayerd fleshy root that is minimally divided, if at all. Still the flowers at least make a nice display in a vase (if you happen to get a heavily flowered, purple version in your area).

                                                  1. I believe there are regional differences in the US terminology, but there are definitely at least two different vegetables. Scallions (at least in New York) are tiny and straight sided, like miniature leeks. They are common in New York and you need about three bunches to get a couple of tablespoons chopped. Green, or spring, onions are very difficult to find in New York in my limited experience, but here in Rome they are common. They are, as has been said, baby onions and bulbous in shape.