Shallots have a mild onion flavor and are often confused with green onions. Here is some information on shallots and green onions.
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2018
When it comes to cooking delicious foods, there is a lot of confusion about adding the right ingredients and culinary herbs. Many of us are still not aware about the various types of onion.
Identifying onion genera and its cultivars may seem easy, but it is not so in the real sense. This is because there are more than 800 known species under the onion genus Allium, belonging to the family Amaryllidaceae.
Out of these, several members, such as onions, scallions, shallots, chives, garlic, etc., are grown as vegetables.
The vegetables categorized under the onion family bear certain common features, hence they are difficult to recognize. E.g., most of the plants are perennials and capable of growing for several years. They usually bear bulbs at the base and develop long, green leaves.
Another common feature is the unique aroma, which is imparted by a cysteine compound present in the plant parts. With this brief introduction on onion family, let's take a look at shallots vs. green onions.
What are Shallots?
⊕ For laymen, shallots can be defined as small versions of onions. Native to Asia, they are known by varied names in different regions of the world.
⊕ The terms 'scallions' and 'shallots' are used concurrently by Australians. They are propagated by means of offsets that are borne in clusters.
⊕ You may find them similar to garlic cloves. While growing, separate the individual cloves and plant them separately. You can use the leaves for garnishing dishes.
What are Green Onions?
► The name 'green onions' itself suggests that they are onions harvested at an immature stage, i.e., before the leaves dry out.
► They are commonly referred to as spring onions or scallions. Shallots, when compared to matured onions, have tender green leaves and small white bulbs.
► They are available throughout the year. You can also grow green onions at home in pots and containers. All you need to do is insert matured onion bulbs in the potting media.
► Allow them to grow till the leaves turn dark green in color.
Difference Between Shallots and Green Onions
⊕ According to plant taxonomy, shallots are scientifically represented as Allium cepa var. aggregatum, whereas green onions can be any species of Allium.
► Like onions, the bulbs of shallots are commonly sold in the market. Based on the variety, their skin color is whitish, rosy red, or reddish brown. Green onions, on the other hand, are sold in bunches.
⊕ Precisely speaking, green onions comprise plants of various onion species, all of which lack a matured bulb.
► Shallots are consumed widely as raw, cooked, or in pickled forms. Studies have shown that they contain more flavonoids than other cultivars of the Amaryllidaceae family.
⊕ In comparison to regular onions, shallots are more expensive. Coming to the culinary uses of green onions, they are very versatile.
► You can add chopped green onions to soups and other dishes or just bake the whole length to enjoy as a side dish with fried recipes.
⊕ As mentioned already, both shallots and green onions taste milder than regular onions. Shallots are sweeter than onions, whereas green onions are just a milder form of regular onions.
Healthy shallot bulbs can be stored in cool and dry areas for up to 6 months.
Needless to say, green onions are fresh vegetables with a short shelf life. It is best to consume them immediately after purchasing. Both these varieties of onions are used in various food recipes to impart a mild onion flavor.