Because they are so simple to cultivate and have many uses, green onions have become one of my favorite garden plants. I include them in various dishes, including salads, soups, eggs, casseroles, and meat marinades, whether fresh, frozen, or dried. However, when I first started eating them, I always wondered how to preserve green onions!
If you enjoy onions and are a gardener, I urge you to try growing green onions if you haven’t before.
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What Are Green Onions?
Uncertain of what green onions are exactly? Don’t worry; I was the same before I began cultivating and employing them frequently. In essence, green onions are nothing more than onion plants’ leaves. The bundles of green stems with little white bulbs are probably something you’ve seen in the supermarket.
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 and offer a delectably flexible option for all types of cuisines.
How to Grow Green Onions?
There’s a few different easy ways to grow green onions.
Have you heard of the practice of replanting green onions in a cup of water? It’s a great way to have some on hand. Despite frequent water changes, the bulbs quickly become mushy and unpleasant.
A few years back, I decided to plant several green onions sitting in water in my kitchen, and they were beginning to smell bad. Even though I didn’t have high hopes for them, I decided to allow them some time to develop before throwing them in the compost bin.
To my surprise, they grew again and became thicker and larger than the frail stems we bought from the supermarket. Since then, they have continued to return every year.
They are the last plant to die off each fall, long after the first frost and snowfall, and the first plant to emerge each spring, frequently poking through the snow. We live in tremendous temperature and moisture extremes, yet onions always survive whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
You can do as I did and put the bulbs from green onion bulbs you purchased at the store into your garden to grow green onions. Alternatively, you can order bulbs from a seed catalog or your nearby garden center. To meet your preferences and climate, catalogs provide a vast choice of onion bulbs, including bunching onion kinds.
These are undoubtedly one of those beloved plants that you may grow just once and then forget about. As long as you choose a kind appropriate for your climate, they don’t need any extra maintenance. They can grow almost everywhere if they survive in our harsh climate!
Make sure you have enough pollination in your garden! Here are some of the best pollinator plants for a vegetable garden.
How to Harvest Green Onions
The best part about collecting green onions is that they provide consistent production throughout the growing season. Pick some leaves when needed once the stems emerge in the spring. Through the first frost and until the start of true winter, they will keep growing again.
In my garden, I only need a few plants to produce enough green onions for the entire spring, summer, and fall, as well as sufficient to give away and more than enough to preserve for the winter.
Just a few of those tiny grocery store green onion bulbs I planted in the ground produced the dense bunches of green onions in the picture below.
When a plant produces so many green onions, you almost feel bad about not storing some for the winter. Fortunately, freezing or drying makes it exceedingly simple to preserve them.
Regardless of your technique, begin by washing your gathered onions and spread them out to dry them mostly. They don’t need to be entirely dry, just not soggy.
After that, cut them into rings so you can freeze or dry them. Although I like my green onions a little thicker, some prefer to slice them into thin rings. It depends on personal preference and how well they maintain regardless of thickness.
How to Freeze Green Onions
Because green onions don’t need to be blanched before freezing, they are ideal when you’re pressed for time or lazy (like me!). I adore herbs and vegetables that don’t require blanching and can simply be sliced up and frozen.
I have two great methods for storing frozen green onions. The first method involves placing them in freezer-safe containers like the one below and using them as needed. The ideal portion for larger meals like soups and casseroles can be found in these tiny containers.
Green onions can also be placed in clean plastic or glass bottles and kept in the freezer. This is a convenient way to freeze and use green onions. Just shake the frozen onions out of the bottle whenever you need them for cooking. This method works nicely when you only need tiny amounts at a time.
We made a similar guide to this for growing and harvesting plums.
How to Dry 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.
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 be almost two years with no problems!
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.