Green onions are one of the fastest growing segment in the onion market which means more and more people are discovering their useful applications.
Their mild flavor ensures they’re always the perfect option for a wide variety of dishes and preparations such as coleslaw, salads and many diversities of vegetable stir-fries.
With the popularity of green onions exploding at such impressive rate, the question of how to properly store them at home for long time without spoilage now needs answers more than ever.
So how do you go about it?
Well, aside canning and dehydration, one of the best answers is to put them in the refrigerator or freezer, and depending on the method you end up going for, the result might be a fresh crisp onion straight out of storage or one that has limp written all over it but can still be managed for a more forgiving recipe like the green onion rolls.
Preserve green onions for as long as 4 weeks in the refrigerator, grow them on the windowsill and continue to trim them for your needs as they continue to grow, or you can freeze them in air tight packaging for as long as 4 months.
Preserving Green Onions
There are three primary ways of storing green onions at home, they include
- Growing on the windowsill
Here are the details on how to go about each method
You can preserve green onions in the refrigerator for one week by either putting them in a jar having some water in it, or covering them in a plastic bag after washing, drying and wrapping them inside a paper towel.
— Storing in a jar filled with water
To ensure your green onions remain as fresh as possible, you need to keep them alive just as you keep flowers alive by watering them.
Below are the steps to store green onions in a jar.
- Put the whole green onions in a heavy bottomed jar with the root side down. The entire part of the scallions won’t be able to make it inside the jar and it is perfectly fine, the main thing is to ensure the roots, and only the roots are submerged inside the water.
- Fill the jar with room temperature water covering the roots of the green onions only.
- Cover the top of the green onions with a plastic bag and hold the part of the wrap covering the neck of the jar with a band. If using a zip top bag, just close the sides and that will do.
- Label the bag with the date and name of content.
- Place the jar at the back of the fridge.
- Ensure to change water at least twice a week.
Tip: Use a tall jar to ensure that scallions are help properly in place.
— Store in a plastic bag or in a container
You can decide to preserve your green onions in a plastic bag or container instead. This would typically be the ideal case when your onions don’t come with roots.
- Wash the green onions with water and chop off the roots.
- Allow to dry and wrap in a damp not wet paper towel to provide humidity.
- Put the wrapped green onions in a plastic bag or container and close loosely.
- Label the plastic bag or container according to date and content.
- Place the plastic bag or container in a fridge.
— Store in a paper towel or bare
Alternatively, you can choose to store green onions in a paper towel in the crisper of your refrigerator. Or, bare as they are on the refrigerator shelves. Just note that the storage won’t extend past a couple of days.
To store them this way, you first want to make sure they are thoroughly washed and dried. Then cut off their roots and wrap with a paper towel or leave as they are and place in the crisper or the refrigerator shelve respectively.
Growing On The Windowsill
To avoid wastage of green onions, you may decide to make the most out of it by growing on the windowsill. Growing a plant requires water and sunlight and likewise growing green onions. Using this method, you’ll end up with far more green onions than you started with which is a big bonus in my opinion.
Steps in growing green onions near the windowsill;
- Place the green onions in a jar of water just as you did when storing them in the refrigerator.
- Place the jar on the windowsill to gain enough exposure to sunlight.
- Label the jar according to date.
- Change the water twice a week.
Ensure not to cut up to the white part of the plant as you snip off the green top because it can hinder growth. Additionally, when the roots are more than 2 inches in length, it’s time to transfer the onions into a pot of sand or use it completely.
If you want your green onions to last for up to five months or more, freezing is the way to go. But know that such extended freezing isn’t without its own tradeoffs too. With freezing, you loose on the quality of the green onions after they come out of the freezer. So it’s best to purpose green onions stored this way into recipes that require cooking them and not eating them raw.
Steps in freezing green onions
- Wash your green onions in vinegar.
- Rinse the green onions in clean water.
- Dry the onions with a paper towel.
- Remove bad stalks and cut off the roots.
- Chop up the green onions into pieces and put them in a freezer bag or container.
- Label the freezer bag or container according to date and content.
- Place the freezer bag or container in the freezer and store for months on end.
Packages for freezing green onions
The following packages are good for storing green onions in the freezer;
- Freezer bag like zip lock bags.
- Plastic containers.
How to use frozen green onions
You may be wondering how to use green onions after freezing, whether to thaw them first or use them directly from their frozen state.
To use your green onions after freezing in recipes that require cooking them, you don’t need to need to thaw, simply incorporate them as they are into the recipe.
Thawing your frozen green onions will result in them turning limp. To avoid that, it’s best you allow them to thaw in the soup or stew.
Flash freezing green onions on a cookie tray before freezing them will ensure you’re able to open up the storage bag and get as much as you want from it without facing any difficulty.
Why your green onions still went bad after freezing
You may be wondering why your green onions became so slimy or limp after freezing. Below are the common reasons why.
- Excess moisture: Excess moisture in the freezer bag, paper towel or container may promote the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage of food.
- Storing close to items that produce ethylene gas: Items that produce ethylene gas like apples and avocados cause spoilage of vegetables easily.
- Freezing the green onions with their roots on: Freezing the green onions with their roots on can fasten the deterioration process of the green onions.
- Freezing already deteriorating green onions.
How to select good green onions before freezing
Selecting green onions that are not already deteriorating is very important if you don’t want slimy green onions after all your freezing efforts. Bad green onions won’t last for the intended time of freezing as much as good green onions.
Before you select green onions for freezing, make sure
- The white bulbs are firm.
- The leaves are fresh.
- They do not have a bad smell.
- They are not discolored but have bright green leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze the green and white parts of green onions separately?
Yes. You can decide to freeze the green and white parts of the green onions separately.
Some people prefer to store the white and green parts of their green onions separately. This is because the two parts can serve two different purposes. To do that,
- Wash the green onions thoroughly.
- Cut off the roots.
- Dry with a paper towel.
- Divide the white part of the green onions from the green part.
- Chop up the green and white parts separately and put them in separate freezer bags or containers.
- Label the freezer bags or plastic containers according to date and content.
- Place the freezer bags or containers in the freezer to freeze.
Can you freeze your green onions as a whole?
Yes. You can freeze your green onions as a whole.
Although you can decide to freeze your green onions as a whole, you may still prefer to slice them before freezing. The reason for this is that it saves you the stress of slicing them after freezing which will entail you thawing it first and as we’ve seen earlier, thawing your green onions may result in them going limp.
Steps in freezing green onions as a whole;
- Wash the green onions.
- Dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
- Cut the roots off.
- Put in a freezer bag or container.
- Label the freezer bag or container according to date and content.
- Place the freezer bag or container in the freezer.
Preserving your green onions leaves for immediate or future use or in case of scarcity or in situations where you bought or harvested excess is very possible and can be done in several ways.
You can refrigerate your green onions to preserve them for about one to two weeks by washing, drying, wrapping in a paper towel, putting in a plastic bag or container, and placing in the fridge, or by putting in a jar of water.
Also, you can regrow the green onions on the windowsill by placing them in a jar of water and exposing them to enough sunlight.
Lastly, you can preserve the green onions for a long time as much as four months by storing them in the freezer after washing, drying, chopping, and putting them in a freezer bag or container.