Pro-Tip Tuesday: Free Scallion Starts!

Do you wish you didn’t have to go to the store every time you needed green onions (a.k.a. scallions)?

Next time you chop a bunch of ’em to cook, save the bottom bits -the part with the roots- and plop them in a jar with a little bit of water in the bottom. Change the water every day or so and watch them grow! I’ve gradually moved mine into the planter boxes on my patio over time (especially in the summer months), but I hear you can also just leave them in a glass with water. Voila, now you have green onions in the future, and didn’t even need to buy any seeds. Advice: don’t leave the same water in there too long or it can start to rot.

Day 3 of scallions in a glass: look! They’re reaching for the water!

I felt inspired to share this after my friend Michelle expressed surprise at seeing me with this trick. Apparently, the internet’s covered it. However, I offer links to bonus content for other allium-related info for your entertainment.

  1. Per the BBC: “Three Cheers for Onions” article (worth a click to peruse):
    • Based on their genetics, onions appear to have come from Central Asia, dating back to at least the time of the Mesopotamians, according to food historian Laura Kelley, author of The Silk Road Gourmet.
    • However, according to the BBC, 90% of onions are consumed in their country of origin. That’s how globally pervasive it is now.
    • Did you know that onions are so highly consumed in India,  the government intervened on pricing to prevent street protests, and their price are periodically an important election issue?
  2. Audio bonus: Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy Podcast:  “Ironies and Onion Rings: the Layered Story of the Vidalia Onion” This interesting episode tells the story of how one entrepreneurial farmer popularized the Vidalia onion, and its complicated identity branding and production story with the American South and Peru.
  3. Onion Tourism? For some onion-themed road tripping in the Pacific Northwest, you can attend the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival mid-June in Eastern Washington. I seem to recall there are wineries in the vicinity too.
  4. Fun personal fact: when I was a kid in the Summer, my mother used to slice scallions up lengthwise and line them up by the patio door to deter ants. That totally fits with standard herbs that deter bugs in the garden. Pretty sure credit goes to my mama for teaching me this trick too.

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