Green onions are an affordable superfood that don’t get the credit they deserve. Learn the health benefits of green onions, and get tips on how to choose and store them.
Green onions are just onions that are harvested before they’ve finished maturing. Instead of letting the onions fully form, farmers pluck them while they’re still young. The taste tends to be more mild, and as it turns out, this makes them even more nutrient dense than full-grown onions.
Green onions add umami to any dish — just chop and sprinkle onto everything from soups and stews to stir fries or mashed potatoes.
Health benefits of green onions
When it comes to health benefits, think of green onions as onions on steroids. Onions in general deliver some surprising health benefits, and green onions contain those same healthy compounds — but in a higher concentration.
In an interview with “The Splendid Table,” journalist Jo Robinson explained that green onions contain 100 times more phytonutrients than full-grown onions do. Robinson says that the green parts are where you can find most of the phytonutrient goodness in green onions.
Like onions, green onions contain compounds that:
- support immune health
- regulate blood sugar
- are anti-inflammatory
- prevent cancer — The cancer-preventing phytonutrient in onions is called quercetin.
- protect us from peptic ulcers by inhibiting the growth of a bacteria that attacks the stomach lining
How to choose and store green onions
It’s pretty easy to tell when green onions are at their best. They’re bright green, and you shouldn’t see any sliminess.
Store green onions wrapped in a damp paper towel in your fridge’s crisper drawer. If you do notice some slime, pull those parts away, give them a thorough rinse and store the rest until you’re ready to use.
If the only green onions available look a little wilted and sad, you can still revive them! Just soak them in cold water for half an hour. They’ll perk right back up — like magic!
My favorite thing about green onions, though, is that you can regrow them after you use them. Chop and eat those healthy green parts, then stick the white parts, root-side-down, in a small cup of water. You don’t want the whole thing submerged, just the part with the roots.
Once the onion starts to sprout, you can regrow it in a pot or in your garden. This is great for saving a buck on groceries and a fun way to get your kids involved in gardening. My son loves checking on the onions in the window and helping to plant them when they’re ready to transfer!
All images via Thinkstock.