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Why don't most recipes use the darker green part of scallions or onions?

samboca Jul 17, 2012 06:47 AM

I usually chop the ends off and use the entire green onion when recipes call for it, but it seems like most recipes say "use white and light green parts only". Any suggestions why?

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    ferret RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 06:58 AM

    They impart different flavors and textures. But there's nothing wrong with using the whole thing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret
      MissBop RE: ferret Jul 17, 2012 06:56 PM

      Seeing as we're on the Onion page lol. I'll share my secret to NO TEARS peeling/chopping onions.
      Keep them in the fridge until use.
      half fill the sink with water
      drop them into the water. Slice them in half UNDER water.
      drench your chopping board with more water
      put the halves on the wet chopping board
      slice however you want, making sure you keep dripping water on them
      drain the water off, then cook them! VOILA!
      I had eye surgery and my eyes are now SO SENSITIVE, I got to the stage where I couldn't cut onions or leeks at all! tragedy!
      Now i have no problem at all. Yes, sometimes they spit A LITTLE when you pop them into the pan, but it's worth a bit of spitting, for no tears LOL
      another way is wear swimming goggles, but that's not a good look haha!
      trust me,the water method works and I've tried them ALL

      Chris from the Land Downunder :)

      1. re: MissBop
        Soop RE: MissBop Jul 18, 2012 03:24 AM

        I find a nice sharp knife works just well, but then YMMV

    2. pinehurst RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 07:02 AM

      Correct. The green part of green onions/scallions can be bitter/stringy depending on the size/age/growing condition, but judge for yourself. I use all but the hairy root and the very end/dry tips.

      1. JungMann RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 07:06 AM

        The green tops are lighter in flavor and texture than the white and light green parts. You'll often find them used raw the way chives are, but there is no harm in cooking them, you may just need to use more of them.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JungMann
          samboca RE: JungMann Jul 17, 2012 07:15 AM

          I guess a follow up comment would be... I've never seen a recipe that called for the use of only the darker green parts.

          Usually we are putting them in salads and uncooked dishes, or adding them raw to stir fries, and they taste fine.

          And ferret/pinehurst, I've noticed that if we're using ramps or wild onions the green part can be overly grassy, so maybe there are just different species available depending on where you live? Thanks for the input y'all.

          1. re: samboca
            buttertart RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 08:19 AM

            Fuchsia Dunlop calls for tops only sometimes, but I always use the whole thing. Tops are attractive as garnish.

            1. re: samboca
              chefj RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 05:41 PM

              Most Chinese applications use the entire Leek and usually the entire Scallion though not always .

          2. TeRReT RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 08:16 AM

            I always use the entire onion

            1. ipsedixit RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 08:23 AM

              I actually prefer the dark green part.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit
                Soop RE: ipsedixit Jul 17, 2012 09:15 AM

                Me too, with leeks as well. I think it might be less sweet.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  boogiebaby RE: ipsedixit Jul 17, 2012 02:10 PM

                  Same here. I use the green part almost exclusively.

                  Many asian recipes that call for green onions are referring to the green part, not the white part. Fried rice is one good example. Chicken Rice, at least in Singapore and Malaysia, is also served with the green part.

                  I put the white part with the roots intact in a small cup of water and it grows more green. I hardly buy green onions, unless I need a large quantity. :)

                  1. re: boogiebaby
                    LaGato RE: boogiebaby Jul 17, 2012 02:48 PM

                    I forgot Asian - great sprinkled on top of egg drop soup or any soup for that matter.

                    1. re: boogiebaby
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: boogiebaby Jul 17, 2012 06:12 PM

                      <Many asian recipes that call for green onions are referring to the green part, not the white part. Fried rice is one good example. Chicken Rice, at least in Singapore and Malaysia>

                      Usually, the white parts are also used, but are used in the very beginning, so they are not noticeable.

                  2. bbqboy RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 08:35 AM


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                      LaGato RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 08:50 AM

                      Actyallky, the green ends are delicious in fried potatoes replacing onions. Also good if sauted gently and added to a scrambled egg or omlet. Of course, these greens should be fairly young.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LaGato
                        BananaBirkLarsen RE: LaGato Jul 17, 2012 09:46 AM

                        Yes! Green ends in scrambled eggs are truly delicious.

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                        Sherri RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 09:12 AM

                        samboca, I think many recipe writers are simply lazy and parrot what they've already seen/heard/read and doing actual testing is more time-consuming than repeating what you have already gleaned. I believe this trend started in the 50s when it was "unladylike" to have very assertive ingredients like whole scallions. For this we can thank the suzy-homemaker food writers and those ubiquitous women's magazines specializing in jello molds and cream of whatsis casseroles. That said, I have always used the whole green onion/scallion and think it is wasteful to throw away perfectly good food. If your dish is light colored and you don't want any green showing up, save the tops for another dish.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Sherri
                          pine time RE: Sherri Jul 17, 2012 11:58 AM

                          I can back this up, at least anecdotally--once asked Mom, when I was still a kid, why she used only the white onion part. She said 'the rest is too strong for me." Of course, that meant I had to try the greens, and have always since used the whole thing.

                          1. re: Sherri
                            hotoynoodle RE: Sherri Jul 17, 2012 12:35 PM

                            some of it may hearken back to visual aesthetics as well. i usually use most of the thing.

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                            hyde RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 01:01 PM

                            do like i have seen people in louisiana do, white part in when cooking, green part, chopped, on top before service for crunch.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hyde
                              biondanonima RE: hyde Jul 17, 2012 02:45 PM

                              This is what I do as well for most dishes. I also like the punch of fresh onion flavor that the raw green provides.

                            2. Chemicalkinetics RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 06:10 PM

                              I usually use the entire green onion. I actually have never ran into situation where only the white parts are used. Maybe because many of my recipes are Chinese recipes. Now, the white parts and the green parts are put in at different stages of the cooking, but they are both used in my cooking.

                              1. paulj RE: samboca Jul 17, 2012 06:29 PM

                                I just 'discovered' garlic chives, which are a bit like the green part - but all green.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: paulj
                                  pinehurst RE: paulj Jul 18, 2012 07:16 AM

                                  Ditto, in the last year or so. LOVE them. Actually, love chives in general.

                                2. huiray RE: samboca Jul 18, 2012 06:49 AM

                                  Many (if not most) Chinese, Japanese, E/SE Asian recipes use basically the whole thing sans the dried out/non-plump ends and the roots, as buttertart, paulj (and chemicalkinetics) above indicate. That's a lot of recipes for a lot of folks. :-)

                                  Just three examples (chez huiray) using the whole thing:

                                  Many cooks/chefs in these cuisines also use just the green tops, finely sliced, as a garnish (especially Japanese) but commonly both green and white parts are used, finely chopped.

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