Scallions (a.k.a. green onion, spring onion and salad onion) are vegetables of various Allium onion species. Scallions have a milder taste than most onions. Its close relatives include the garlic, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion.
Although the bulbs of many Allium species are used as food, the defining characteristic of scallion species is that they lack a fully developed bulb. In common with all Allium species, scallions have hollow, tubular green leaves, growing directly from the bulb. These leaves are used as a vegetable; they are eaten either raw or cooked. The leaves are often chopped into other dishes, in the manner of onions or garlic. Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell.
The words scallion and shallot are related and can be traced back to the Greek ασκολόνιον ('askolonion') as described by the Greek writer Theophrastus. This name, in turn, seems to originate from the name of the ancient Canaan city of Ashkelon. The plant itself came from farther east of Europe.
Species and cultivars that may be called "scallions" include:
- A. cepa
- 'White Lisbon'
- 'White Lisbon Winter Hardy' – an extra-hardy variety for overwintering
- A. cepa var. cepa – Most of the cultivars grown in the West primarily as scallions belong to this variety. However, the "scallions" from A. cepa var. cepa (common onion) are from a young plant, harvested before a bulb forms or sometimes after slight bulbing has occurred.
- A. cepa var. aggregatum (formerly A. ascalonicum) – commonly called shallots or sometimes eschalot.
- A. chinense
- A. fistulosum, the Welsh onion – does not form bulbs even when mature, and is grown in the West almost exclusively as a scallion or salad onion, although in Asia this species is of primary importance and used both fresh and cooked.
- A. × proliferum – sometimes used as scallions
- A. × wakegi, the Wakegi onion – sometimes used as scallions
Spring onions may be cooked or used raw as a part of salads, salsas or Asian recipes. Diced scallions are used in soup, noodle and seafood dishes, sandwiches, curries and as part of a stir fry. In many Eastern sauces, the bottom half-centimetre (quarter-inch) of the root is commonly removed before use.
In Mexico and the Southwest United States, cebollitas are scallions that are sprinkled with salt, grilled whole and eaten with cheese and rice. Topped with lime juice, they are typically served as a traditional accompaniment to asado dishes.
In Catalan cuisine, calçot is a type of onion traditionally eaten in a calçotada (plural: calçotades). A popular gastronomic event of the same name is held between the end of winter and early spring, where calçots are grilled, dipped in salvitxada or romesco sauce, and consumed in massive quantities.
In Japan, scallions are cultivated in two ways. In Western Japan, "leaf" green scallions are typically eaten, where only the green portion is consumed. In Eastern Japan, "root" green scallions are popular. The scallions are partially buried, so a portion of the stalk is kept underground. As a result, a significant part of the stalk remains white in color, and is cultivated to be very thick. The green portion of these "root" scallions are discarded, and the thick white portions of the scallion are consumed. In Japanese cuisine, scallions are used in abundance, as an accompaniment to tofu, noodle dishes, hot pots and stir fries.
In Vietnam, Welsh onion is important to prepare dưa hành (fermented onions) which is served for Tết, the Vietnamese New Year. A kind of sauce, mỡ hành (Welsh onion fried in oil), is used in dishes such as cơm tấm, bánh ít and cà tím nướng. Welsh onion is the main ingredient in the dish cháo hành, which is a rice porridge used to treat the common cold.
In India, it is eaten as an appetizer (raw) with main meals. In north India, coriander, mint and onion chutney are made using uncooked scallions.
In the southern Philippines, it is ground in a mortar along with ginger and chili pepper to make a native condiment called wet palapa, which can be used to spice dishes or as a topping for fried or sun-dried food. It can also be used to make the dry version of palapa, when it is stir fried with fresh coconut shavings and wet palapa.
During the Passover meal (Seder), Persian Jews lightly and playfully strike family members with scallions when the Hebrew word dayenu is read, symbolizing the whips endured by the Israelites under the ancient Egyptians.
An oil, scallion oil, is sometimes made from the green leaves. The leaves are chopped and lightly cooked then emulsified in oil which is used as a garnish.
See Allium fistulosum.
Regional and other names
Scallions have various other common names throughout the world. These names include spring onion, green onion, table onion, salad onion, onion stick, long onion, baby onion, precious onion, yard onion, gibbon, syboe and shallot. Scallion and its many names can be mistakenly used for the young plants of the shallot (A. cepa var. aggregatum, formerly A. ascalonicum), harvested before bulbs form, or sometimes after slight bulbing has occurred.
- Afghanistan – known as "shna pyaz" meaning "green onion"
- Albania – Known as qepë të njoma meaning "young/baby onions"
- Arabic – Known in the Arabic-speaking countries as بصل أخضر ("green onion")
- Argentina – Known as cebolla de verdeo
- Australia – The common names are "spring onions" and "shallots".
- Belgium – In the Dutch speaking part it is known as "pijpajuin", which means "tubular onion".
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Known as "mladi luk".
- Brazil – Known as cebolinha, which is also the Portuguese word for chives. A more precise term is cebolinha-verde which refers specifically to A. fistulosum.
- Cambodia – Called "ស្លឹកខ្ទឹម"
- Canada – Known as "green onion"
- Caribbean – Often referred to as "chives"
- China – The common name is cōng (葱); xiǎocōng (小葱) is another term for Scallion.
- Colombia – Known as "cebolla larga"
- Costa Rica – Usually "cebollín"
- Croatia – "mladi luk", meaning "young onion"
- Denmark – Known as forårsløg when referring to undeveloped A. pena and pibeløg when referring to A. fistulosum
- Dominican Republic – Known as "cebollín"
- Ecuador – Known as "cebolla larga"
- England and some Commonwealth countries, including Singapore – The most common name is "spring onion"
- Estonia – Known as roheline sibul (literally "green onion")
- Finland – Known as kevätsipuli (literally "spring onion")
- France – Known as "oignon vert" (literally "green onion"), "ciboule" and "cébette"
- Germany and Austria – Known as Frühlingszwiebel (among other names), which means "spring onion".
- Greece – Known as φρέσκο κρεμμυδάκι
- Hungary – Known as újhagyma (literally "new onion")
- Iceland – Known as vorlaukur (literally "spring onion")
- India – May be referred to as "spring onion", and in Hindi-speaking areas as hara pyaz.
- Indonesia and Malaysia – Known as daun bawang (onion leaf). The same term is used for leeks (daun bawang perai). Chinese chives which can be mistaken for scallions are called daun kucai.
- Israel – Known as batzal yaroq (בצל ירוק), which means "green onion"
- Iran: Known as پیازچه.
- Ireland and Northern Ireland – The term "scallions" is commonly used.
- Italy – Known as cipolla d'inverno ("winter onion"), cipollotto or cipolletta, which means "little onion", "cipollotti freschi" (fresh little onions), or cipolla verde ("green onion").
- Japan – Known as negi (葱 / ねぎ)
- Jamaica – Known as escallion and refers to Welsh onion.
- Korea – Known as pa(파); larger variety of Allium fistulosum called daepa(대파, "big scallion"), thinner early variety called silpa(실파, "thread scallion"); Allium × wakegi called jjokpa(쪽파).
- Kyrgyzstan – Known as көк пиаз, which literally translates to "blue onion".
- Latvia – Known as sīpolloki
- Lithuania – Known as laiškinis svogūnas in Lithuania, which means "leafy onion".
- Netherlands – Known as bosui, which literally translates as "forest onion", or lenteui, which translates as "spring onion".
- New Zealand – The common name is "spring onion".
- Norway – Known as vårløk (bokmål) or vårlauk (nynorsk).
- Peru – The common name is cebolla china which means "Chinese onion" in Spanish.
- Philippines – Known as sibuyas na mura. It is also called berdeng sibuyas.
- Portugal – Known as cebolinho
- Romania – Known as ceapă verde, which means "green onion"
- Russia – Known as зеленый лук, which means "green onion"
- Scotland – Known as "spring onion", and also in Scots as cibies or sibies, from the French syboe.
- Serbia – Known as mladi luk, which means "young onion"
- Spain – Known as "Cebolleta". In the little city of Valls (Catalonia), there's a local traditional variety of sweety onion named Calçots.
- Sri Lanka – Known as loonu kola (ලූනු කොළ), which literally means "onion leaves", or in Tamil as (வெங்காயத்தாள்)
- Sweden – Known as salladslök (in Swedish) ("salad onion") as a general name for onions with not yet fully developed bulbs, and piplök ("pipe onion") when referring to A. fistulosum. The term vårlök ("spring onion") is sometimes also used, but that is a misnomer caused by translating the English "spring onion". Vårlök is the Swedish name for Gagea lutea, which is inedible and not an onion at all.
- Turkey – Known as taze soğan, meaning "fresh onion"
- United States – Known as "scallion" or "green onion" except for the New Orleans area where it is known as shallot. The term "green onion" is also used in reference to immature specimens of the ordinary onion (Allium cepa) harvested in the spring.
- Wales – Known as "spring onion" or "gibbon" //. Also known in South Wales as sibwn (pronounced "shibun").
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