Spring Onion Growing and Cooking Tips
Spring onions may refer to any onions picked in the spring before reaching maturity, but generally refers to an early harvest of young common bulb onions (Allium cepa). Often confused with green onions or scallions (Allium fistulosum), spring onions may have started out as a rush to harvest any edible crop after a lean winter. Delicious in their own right, the tender bulb and stems of the young onion have a mild flavor that can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
Although the terms green onion and spring onion are often used interchangeably, the difference is easy to distinguish. Unlike green onions, which remain small with a narrow base into maturity, spring onions can be identified by a bulb that begins to bulge after just a few weeks of growth. Left to mature, the bulb of the spring onion will develop to become a common onion with a stronger and more biting flavor than the young plant.
Spring onions are a popular crop among those looking for an early harvest without much effort. Although any onion can be harvested as a spring onion, most prefer to use a sweeter variety. Plant seeds or sets in partial to full sun in the ground or in a raised bed at a depth of ½”-1” below the surface spaced about 4 inches apart. Onions will grow best in soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0 and regular watering of about an inch a week is suggested.
Once the plant reaches a height of 6”-8” with stalks approaching ½” in diameter, they may be harvested by pulling the plant from the ground intact. Onions may be left to grow longer, but the flavor will become sharper as it grows. If the plant bolts, it will not develop further and should be harvested immediately. Once harvested, spring onions have a limited shelf-life and should be stored in the refrigerator.
Spring onions add tremendous flavor to salads, soups, stir-frys, or when cooked as a seasonal side dish. To enjoy the great taste of this easy-to-grow early crop, try tossing it on the grill as a quick, garden-fresh side that works with anything that might be on the menu for patio dining at its backyard best.
Grilled Spring Onions
- Spring onions
- Sea salt
- Lemon juice
Trim the tips and roots of spring onions.
Brush with olive oil and place on a medium-hot grill.
After 4-5 minutes, turn onions once and continue to cook another 5 minutes until tender and bulb begins to caramelize.
Remove from grill and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Drizzle with lemon juice and serve hot.