Green Onions: How to Grow, Harvest, and Preserve Them  

Green onions are a favorite among gardeners. In fact, they’re one of my newest (and favorite) crops I’ve been growing in my garden. I include them in various dishes, including salads, soups, eggs, casseroles, and meat marinades, whether fresh, frozen, or dried. This article will walk you through the A-Z of green onions, such as how to grow them, harvest them, and even how to preserve them.

For more tips on gardening and homesteading, check out our page on organic gardening!

Growing Green Onions Outside

What Are Green Onions? 

Before we start, you need to know what a green onion is. Lucky for you, it’s pretty simple. In essence, green onions are nothing more than onion plants’ leaves. Instead of having the large fruit under the ground, green onions have a bundle of green stems with small white bulbs (think similar to chives).

Depending on the variety of onions and where you reside, green onions are sometimes known as scallions, bunching onions, or occasionally spring onions. They are simple to grow, harvest, and preserve — which we’ll cover next.

Growing green onions

How to Grow Green Onions? 

There are a few different easy ways to grow green onions. Here’s what we recommend

Growing Green Onions in Water

Believe it or not (although, believe us, it’s true), you can grow green onions in a glass of water.

To do so, all you need is a couple of stalks (and the small white bulbs) which you can either buy at the store or take directly from your garden. Add them to a glass of water and start watching them grow in as quickly as a week to two.

While green onions won’t be as big or tall in water (compared to the ground), this is an easy way to have green onions on hand if you use them often to cook.

Growing Green Onions in Dirt

You can grow green onions directly in your garden as well. You’ll need bulbs, which you can pick up at your local nursery, plant cataloged, or right here. Once you’ve got the bulbs, you’re all ready to start growing the green onions.

It’s recommended to start growing green onions after the last frost (if you’re planting them outside). However, green onions are incredibly hearty and are one the last plants to die off each fall, long after the first frost and snowfall. So, you can continue to plant green onions as early spring and even late fall crop.

When growing fruits and veggies, make sure you have enough bees in your garden! Here are some of the best pollinator plants for a vegetable garden.

Green onions getting ready to be preserved

How Should You Harvest Green Onions?

Here’s our straightforward six-step process to harvest green onions:

  1. Choose the right time: Green onions are best harvested when they are tender. If you’re growing these in your garden, it’s usually around 2-3 months after planting. Look for green onions that are at least 6 inches tall, with a thick stem and healthy foliage.
  2. Prepare the tools: You’ll need a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears to harvest the green onions. Make sure they are clean to prevent the spread of diseases. Don’t forget to have a basket to put the onions in, either!
  3. Cut the green onions: Using your scissors or garden shears, cut the green onions about an inch above the soil line. Be careful not to cut too low, or you may damage the plant’s roots. Typically, we recommend leaving the white part of the onion.
  4. Trim the foliage: Once you’ve harvested the green onions, remove any yellow or wilted leaves. This will help the plant focus its energy on producing new growth.
  5. Wash the green onions: To clean off any dirt, animal remnants, or pesticides, make sure you wash your green onions before using them.

With these simple steps, you’ll be able to harvest green onions like a pro and enjoy their fresh, oniony flavor in all your favorite dishes (like Pad Thai for me).

The Two Best Methods to Preserve Green Onions

If you’re growing green onions you’re bound to have a ton on hand. Thankfully for you, there are two different ways you can preserve your green onions. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Freeze Your Green Onions

The best method to preserve your green onions is to freeze them. That’s because freezing keeps your onions preserved for the longest amount of time. Seriously, you can leave them i a freezer for years to come.

Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Prepare the green onions: Wash the green onions thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel. Remove any wilted or discolored parts and chop them into small pieces.
  2. Flash freeze: Spread the chopped green onions in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour or until the green onions are frozen solid.
  3. Transfer to a permanent location: Once the green onions are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to label the container with the date and contents.
  4. Store in the freezer: Put the container of frozen green onions back in the freezer. They can be stored for up to 6 months, so you can use them as needed in your favorite recipes.

Freezing green onions is a quick and easy way to preserve their delicious taste and make sure you always have them on hand for your favorite dishes. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce food waste and save money in the long run. So next time you have a surplus of green onions, give freezing a try and enjoy their fresh flavor all year round!

2. Dry Your Green Onions

Green onions dry rapidly and are simple to preserve; drying them is just as easy as freezing them. I like to dry my onions in a dehydrator, but you can also air dry them or dry them in a low oven.

Here’s what we recommend:

Spread the onion pieces on trays with or without the tray liners. If you don’t use the liners, a few pieces will probably fall through the slats while drying, but this won’t be a major concern if your dehydrator is a top-drying model.

Depending on the humidity in your area, onions can dry very quickly. Check them frequently after the dehydrator runs. Glass jars or plastic bags are good for storing dried onions. They can be used as you like and can endure for months, if not years.

One more piece of advice: while drying, the fragrance of onions may be a little too strong. You can place the dehydrator outside or in a garage until they are finished if they smell! 

This is the dehydrator that I use! It’s lasted me almost two years with no problems!

Final Thoughts 

Green onions are a very low-maintenance plant that will give you a beautiful harvest. As you’ve learned it’s also easy to learn how to preserve green onions. They have evolved into one of the few plants in my garden that I always believe necessary. They offer a great flavor to almost anything you add onions to and are simple to grow and store.

How to preserve green onions

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