Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Here’s the Real Difference Between Those Vegetables You Keep Confusing

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If you’re still confused about the difference between scallions, green onions, spring onions, and the like, you aren’t alone. While substituting one for the other won’t necessarily ruin a recipe, it is helpful to note the slight differences in case your grocery store only carries one option.

In a tweet, Aubry Andrews of anonymous confessions account @ConfessToAubry succinctly explains the differences between scallions, green onions, spring onions, and more in response to a tweet by @George___Looney, a Newfoundland dog account. @George___Looney tweeted, “Mum wants to know, what does everyone call these?” with a photo of a bunch of scallions.

Andrews responded that scallions are a mild-flavored onion “picked earlier the white bulb is uniform with the green stalk,” green onions are full-flavored and more mature with a white bulb that’s slightly bigger than the stalk, and spring onions have bulbs that are “much larger and distinctively round,” with a strong flavor that’s closer to a regular onion. “End of lesson,” Andrews wrote.

Andrews followed up her initial tweet to explain the notable characteristics of other onion varieties. Noting that shallots are “mild with a delicate flavor that marries a hint of sweetness with a light bite of an onion,” she then revealed that chives are not what you probably think they are. While you may regularly confuse them with scallions or green onions, chives actually have a “mild onion like taste with a hint of herby-ness.” Leeks, on the hand, “provide a mild onion flavor but less astringent than a green onion.” Lastly, she notes that wild ramps taste like a mix between leeks and garlic: “Subtle yet substantial in flavor.”

So, there you have it. The next time you head to the grocery store or the farmers market, be sure to keep these notes handy so that you’re not making the same mistake twice.

Abigail Abesamis Demarest


Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance contributor for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. When she’s not writing she’s reading up on the latest wellness trends, teaching Zumba classes, or reading a book on the beach.

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