How to grow Green Onions cheaply, and what you can do with them.
Last year I realized I had a problem. I went in the fridge and found 6 bunches of partially used green onions. I guess I just always think just about anything can be enhanced with green onions. Perk up the flavor? Sure! Perk up the color? Yep! Need a little garnish? Green onion’s got ya covered!
Well, I used all of those onions, and a few months later, I found that I had done it again. Multiple partially used bunches in there! So, I decided it was time to make a change. I told myself I wasn’t allowed to buy more green onions from the grocery store. Instead, I took all the ones I had in the fridge and planted them. It’s was a very successful “crop”, so I thought I’d share the whole process with you.
(On a little side note, my wonderful Belgian friend has challenged me to do something special with all these green onions. A challenge I have accepted, but have not found the time to actually complete, yet!)
How to do it:
You know that little root end that you cut off and throw into the compost? That’s the one that does all the work for you, and basically for free. Cut it off just like normal, only now you’re going to want to plant it in the garden or in a pot. And, eventually you’ll get tall onion plants that you can use for greens, onion bulbs, or seeds.
As you need a green onion garnish, just go out and snip off a little of the greens and chop as needed. The onions will start to get big. You’ll notice some of the green leaves will be thicker and start to get a small bulb on the top. Those ones won’t be good for eating: too tough. Those are the stalks that the flowers will start growing on. Oh, and the honey bees love the flowers! I see them buzzing around all the time! Those flowers will eventually go to seed.
Black Onion Seeds:
Those little black seeds are good for planting so you can have more onions. OR, you can eat them! You’ll find uses and guides for the seeds here. Onion seeds are known as nigella or kalonji seeds, and can be very expensive. Add the seeds to homemade breads or chutneys, to soups or stocks. They have a pleasant light oniony flavor as well.
Harvesting the green onions is pretty easy. Just dig out all the onions, as needed. These ones are about three feet tall and there’s probably 2 dozen or so onions here.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to use all the harvested onions right away, so I cut off the root end of a few and re-planted them. I imagine I’ll get another good crop from them, but we’ll see.
I took the onion bulb part and cleaned them all off and placed them in a ziptop bag in the fridge for use in dinners and lunches. And, I took all the green parts, cleaned them, roughly chopped them, and placed them in the freezer in a ziptop bag. I’ll use those greens to make veggie stock. It helps get a nice flavor and a pretty dark color to veggie stock (just like when I add the dark green part of the leeks to the stock).
The plant that keeps on giving:
So, that’s how I grow the green onions from the little root end of the grocery store purchase. Basically, a free plant that gives, greens, onion bulbs, and onion seeds. How cool is that!
You can do this kind of thing with different plants too. Check out here where Lovefoodies provides a tutorial on how to grow bok choy.