Freezing Green Onions
Whether you call them scallions or green onions, these onion cousins are cool-season favorites in the garden. This easy-grows-it vegetable provides a quick return—you’ll harvest in a few weeks when you plant sets (tiny onion-looking bulbs). When the crop comes in, don’t give your scallions away. Freezing green onions is a viable option for preserving this pungent veggie.
You can freeze every part of the plant: the leafy green tops, the white bulb end, and the stem in between. After freezing, the texture changes somewhat. Stem and bulb portions become soft, while the green parts sometimes become tough. The best way to use all portions after freezing is in cooking. Adding frozen scallions to soups, stews, and sauces brings on light, just-right onion flavor. They also work well when added to butters and cream cheese to create oniony spreads.
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Freezing green onions doesn’t require blanching. Just slice off the roots and leaf tips, wash and dry well, chop, and freeze. It’s really that simple. Most cooks prefer to freeze the tops and bases separately. Think about the way you’ll use the frozen product before making your own decision.
Green onions adapt well to flash freezing. Place the chopped portions on a parchment-lined tray, pop it in the freezer, and when frozen, stash the onions in freezer containers or bags. Chopped green onion tops freeze in as little as 15 minutes this way and thaw even quicker, so work fast to get them into the final container. For easy end-use, place flash-frozen scallions in plastic drink bottles, like water or juice containers, to create a scallion shaker dispenser.
To skip flash freezing, chop green onions and tuck into snack size bags, arranging in a thin layer. To use, break off a piece of the frozen layer. To freeze green onion tops, bundle them together into a “cigar” that fits snugly in the base of a freezer bag. Roll up the bag tightly, securing the ends with rubber bands or binder clips. To use, pull the scallion cigar from the bag and slice off what you need. Re-freeze the remainder.
Some cooks like to freeze green onions in muffin tins or ice cube trays. Covering with water is optional. After the onions freeze solid, pop the chunks into freezer bags. To use these onion cubes, toss as many as you need into your dish. They’ll thaw as they cook.
You can also sautee green onions—bulbs and leaves—in olive oil before freezing. For a more flavorful option, sautée onions, celery, parsley, and garlic, then puree in a food processor. Freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and add to mashed potatoes, rice dishes, and browned ground meat.
No matter how you freeze green onions, be sure to seal them in a container that won’t allow onion odor to escape and flavor your freezer—and everything in it. Double and even triple bag green onions stored in freezer bags. Use raw green onions within a few weeks for best flavor; use cooked ones within a few months.
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