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When my local store has spring onions (a.k.a. scallions or green onions), I like to buy a lot of them. I mostly use the green tops as a garnish in soups or ramen, and toss the lower white parts into the freezer to use later in stock.

The problem is that no matter how I store them the green tops of the onions always decline in quality really quickly:

  • If I store them whole in a bag in the fridge, the onions keep growing (albeit slowly) and the dark green tops become lighter green and eventually a flavourless pale yellow.
  • If I keep them in a jar of water on the windowsill the same thing happens.
  • If I slice the green tops off and store them in a bag in the fridge, they go a bit slimy.
  • If I slice the green tops into rings and store them in a tupperware jar the same thing happens.
  • If I freeze them they turn to mush.

So... anyone have any tips on how to store spring onions specifically to keep the green parts nice and fresh without them wilting, going yellow, going slimy, or going soggy?

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  • Have you tried growing them yourself? They're quite easy, including in a pot on the windowsill (inside or, in most climates, outside)
    – Chris H
    Jan 9, 2023 at 10:19

4 Answers 4

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You seem to want to "freeze the onions in time", which is impossible.

Onions are a living plant - and continue living after they have been harvested and even cut up. You cannot stop a living thing from, well, living.

When you keep the onions whole, they continue growing. If you can ensure optimal conditions, they will become big, rough plants with a tough green part. Apparently, you cannot provide good conditions even on your windowsill, so they etiolate instead. But they continue to grow, because that's what plants do.

If you cut them up in pieces, they are no longer able to grow, because there is too much "missing" within a single ring of onion greens to sustain growth. Depending on how long you are trying to keep them, the sliminess is either their juices bleeding out a bit, or, more likely, the plants slowly dying and decomposing, helped along by bacteria.

As a hint: you used the word "fresh" yourself. This word is only applied to things which deteriorate over time and so are not suitable for buying in bulk (we never speak of fresh cardboard or fresh bricks, but of fresh fruit or fresh coffee). It is the fact that they cannot be stored that makes people pay attention to the distinction between "fresh" and "old. With any such thing, you just have to buy it fresh.

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  • You're right of course, but there will be a way to extend the usable life of the onions as long as possible and that's what I'm looking for.
    – WackGet
    Jan 9, 2023 at 18:04
  • @WackGet there is no secret way. You just keep them in the fridge, with or without extra things to keep them sufficiently hydrated - and since you got growth instead of withering, I suppose that yours are hydrated. You can of course try to remove the roots and keep them wet instead, as in the other answers, which might give you a day or two of difference (but I don't know in which direction). Whatever you get out of it, it's the maximum usable time.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 9, 2023 at 18:35
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The only technique I've found to extend the life of those types of vegetable tops over other methods is to put the cut-off parts in a cup of water in the refrigerator, so that only the bottom third or so is submerged. I use this technique for the green part of spring onions, cut chives, and the spades of hardneck garlic after I pinch the off. It's not a magic solution, but it's bought me a few extra days.

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  • Thanks, I'll try this the next time I get some.
    – WackGet
    Jan 9, 2023 at 18:04
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Here's what I've found gives me the maximum time for storing fresh-cut green onions, with the understanding that "maximum time" is about a week to 10 days:

  1. While still whole, wash and dry the green onions. Make sure they're really dry.
  2. Cut them.
  3. Wrap the greens you're keeping in small bundles in paper towels, and then put 1-3 bundles together in plastic bags.
  4. Put the bag(s) in the fridge.

Since you're using them in ramen, though, you have two other options.

One is that you can dry them. Slice them into fat rings, and then put them in a dehydrator and dry them. Dried, they will keep their flavor for up to 6 months in a sealed container in a cool dark place.

The second is that you could consider making green onion oil, which is what I do with my annual green onion harvest. While a quite different flavor from fresh onions, it's one that goes really well with Asian soups.

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  • Thank you, I'll also try this method. And thanks for the link. I have tons of frozen spring onion bottoms which I'm hoping to use to make scented oil.
    – WackGet
    Jan 9, 2023 at 20:52
  • Hmmm ... I'm not sure it'll work from frozen. Frozen onions tend to turn to mush when you thaw them.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 9, 2023 at 22:22
  • Also, if this answer was useful to you, please upvote it!
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 9, 2023 at 22:23
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You can keep them on the counter in a jar of water. And a tiny bit of Miracle Grow.

This works for basil, bok choi, green onions, and carrots. They will grow. I fill an old jar with water, and add as much Miracle Grow as will stick to my wet finger. I keep it on the counter in the sun. Change water periodically.

If you look it up on the web you will see just water. I just use water for carrots. They don't need the Miracle Grow. The other vegetables don't have the same storage organs and it seems that they need the nitrogen etc to maintain themselves.

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