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Spring onions

The beneficial properties of spring onions

Spring onions are onions harvested at an earlier stage of maturation. Once used as a decorative plant, they were prized for their distinctive aroma, which is even more pleasant than onions’. Unlike regular onions, they have “unique” fistulous leaves that are vivid green in colour with blue undertones.

What differentiates spring onions from regular onions is their mode of consumption. With regular onions, the bulb is consumed, while with spring onions, both the leaves and bulbs are consumed. They have specific nutritional characteristics, as they are rich in vitamins and mineral salts.

In any case, they perform some important functions for the human body. They are diuretics and therefore allow you to eliminate excess fluids; they are detoxifying and antibacterial, especially in relation to the urinary tract. Furthermore, they have a positive impact on blood sugar levels, so they can also be consumed by diabetics. Lastly, they are rich in antioxidants, which are extremely valuable compounds since they support processes of cellular regeneration, neutralise the effects of free radicals, and help prevent tumours.

The different types of spring onions

There are various cultivars, at least as many as there are onions. The division is more or less identical: we find spring onions that derive from red, golden, and white onions. What changes from one variety to another, however, is the colour of the leaves and their taste—sometimes more delicate, at other times more pungent.

However, consumption remains constant since, in contrast to onions, spring onions are meant to be eaten raw or prepared as ingredients in and of themselves rather than being sautéed.

How to use them in the kitchen

Compared to regular onions, spring onions are used less in cooking. It does, however, stand out for its notable adaptability. Its bulb is considerably sweeter and more delicate than an onion’s; therefore, it can obviously be eaten raw. It’s usually seasoned with a tiny bit of vinegar and oil. Nonetheless, spring onions are found in pickle jars because they are particularly suitable for this type of preparation.

It can also be thought of as any other vegetable, i.e., as a side dish for salads instead of a filling for savoury pies. The same holds true for veloutés and soups. To sum it up, spring onions can bring a great deal of satisfaction when used in cooking. Below, you will find a selection of recipes made with spring onions.

Here are some delicious recipes

Spring onions are incredibly adaptable and can be used for much more than just the traditional sauté. They can be used in a wide variety of recipes due to their mild flavour, which is less strong than traditional onions. Here are the recipes that impressed me the most.

Chicken thighs with spring onions. In this light but delicious second course, the spring onions play a fundamental role, not just as an ingredient. In fact, they act as a base for cooking the chicken, which is enhanced by a long simmer with white wine.

Hake with spring onions, sage, and pistachios. Another interesting fish-based second course. In this recipe, spring onions act as the main ingredient. Their subtle fragrance highlights the delicate flavour of the hake flesh. The contrast between the sage and the pistachios makes everything even better. The key elements of this excellent second course are fragrance and lightness.

Pasta with spring onions and pumpkin. In this colourful first course, spring onions interact with ginger. Together, they create a condiment that is both subtle and assertive, accentuated by a crisp walnut topping.

Red lentil pasta with spring onions. This is another colourful and very tasty first course, as well as very simple to make. In this dish, the red lentil-based pasta is enhanced by the spring onions, as well as the yellow and red cherry tomatoes.

Upside-down cake with spring onions. It is a unique savoury cake whose dough acts as a covering. The filling, which for this occasion consists of olives, yoghurt, and spring onions, provides the base.

What are spring onions good for?

Spring onions also stand out for their nutritional properties. From this point of view, the regular onions have nothing over them. They are valued for a whole series of characteristics.

They have diuretic properties. The abundant presence of water, as well as purifying substances, make these bulbs effective in combating water retention and supporting liver activity.

They protect against infections. Spring onions are rich in vitamin C; therefore, they boost the immune system. This function is also determined by the presence of zinc and selenium, rather rare substances in nature.

They are remineralizing. Spring onions are richer in mineral salts than other vegetables. In particular, they provide potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. Furthermore, these substances tend to preserve their integrity even when cooked.

Differences between regular onions, spring onions, and shallot

As we have seen, spring onions can be used in numerous recipes, even as main ingredients. Their main use, however, remains the preparation of sauté. From this point of view, it may be useful to investigate the differences with the other two “main” ingredients in sautéing, namely onion and shallot.

In short, how does the sauté change depending on the use of these ingredients? If you prepare a sauté based on spring onions, the final result is decidedly more delicate. This is a plus point only if the preparation itself does not rely on many ingredients. In the latter case, the spring onion would tend to “disappear” from an organoleptic point of view.

In the case of the regular onion, the result is drastically different; based on the variety that is used, it may emit much stronger and more pungent scents, capable of emerging even in the most complex preparations. In the case of the shallot, it is positioned in the centre; that is, it has the onion’s aroma but is almost as delicate as the spring onion.

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