How to Store Scallions

Scallions, with their crisp texture and mild onion flavor, are a popular ingredient in countless dishes. However, keeping them fresh can be a challenge once they’re brought home from the market. Maximizing their shelf life not only reduces waste but also ensures that they remain flavorful and ready for your next culinary creation.

The key to preserving the freshness of scallions involves selecting an appropriate storage method tailored to the duration and setting you plan to store them in.

Scallions are neatly tied in a bunch and placed upright in a glass of water, with the roots submerged and the green tops standing tall

Your approach to storing scallions should vary based on how quickly you intend to use them.

For short-term storage, keeping them in the refrigerator can maintain their freshness for a week or more.

Methods such as placing the scallions upright in a jar with water, or wrapping them in damp paper towels, can be effective in maintaining their crispness.

These techniques mimic the plants’ natural growing conditions, providing the necessary hydration to keep them lively and green.

For longer storage, freezing is a practical option.

You can preserve scallions for several months by initially freezing them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and then transferring them to a freezer-safe bag or container once frozen.

This step prevents the individual pieces from clumping together, allowing you to use only the amount needed for your dishes.

Frozen scallions are best used in cooked applications, as they may lose some of their crisp texture once thawed.

Selecting Scallions for Storage

When choosing scallions (also known as green onions) for storage, your primary focus should be on the indicators of freshness. This includes evaluating the greens, inspecting the roots, and checking the general health of the scallions you find at your grocery store.

Checking for Freshness

Inspect the scallions to ensure they have a vibrant color and that the stalks are firm to the touch. Avoid any bunches that show signs of wilting or discoloration as these qualities diminish their shelf-life.

Evaluating the Greens

The green tops should be bright and crisp. If the tips are starting to fray or if there’s noticeable sagging, these are signs that the scallions have been on the shelf for too long.

Inspecting the Roots

The roots of the scallions should be white and tightly bound. Soft or brown roots indicate that they may be past their prime and not the best candidates for long-term storage.

Preparation Before Storing

Scallions washed and dried, placed in airtight container with paper towel, stored in refrigerator

Before you store scallions, it’s crucial to prepare them properly. This ensures they remain fresh for as long as possible and prevents early spoilage.

Trimming the Roots

Using a sharp knife, trim off the small roots at the base of your scallions. This should be done carefully, cutting just above the root to preserve the integrity of the scallions. Remove only the necessary portion to minimize waste.

Cleaning and Drying

Wash the scallions thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris.

After washing, gently shake off excess water and then pat them dry with a paper towel.

Ensuring the scallions are completely dry is essential, as any lingering moisture can accelerate decay.

Storing Scallions in the Refrigerator

Storing your scallions in the refrigerator preserves their freshness and extends their usability. Key considerations include moisture control and proper containment to maintain crispness.

Using a Damp Paper Towel

Wrap your scallions gently in a damp paper towel to retain adequate moisture.

Place the wrapped scallions in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, as this will help keep them fresh and prevent wilting.

Check the paper towel regularly, and moisten it again if it starts to dry out.

Plastic Bag Method

Place your scallions in a plastic bag after removing excess air, as this can reduce moisture loss.

For optimal results, seal the bag tightly before placing it in the refrigerator. This creates a humid environment that can keep scallions crisper for longer.

Airtight Container Option

Alternatively, use an airtight container to store scallions.

First, trim the ends and remove any wilted parts.

Lay them carefully inside the container, and secure the lid to minimize exposure to air.

Store the container in the refrigerator, and avoid excess moisture to discourage spoilage.

Storing Scallions in Water

Storing scallions in water is a convenient method to keep them fresh for an extended period. This method mimics their natural growing conditions and can extend the freshness of your scallions significantly when performed correctly.

Upright Jar Method

For this method, place your scallions upright in a jar that is filled with about 2 inches of water.

Ensure that only the roots are submerged to prevent the leaves from rotting.

Place the jar on a windowsill or any area in your kitchen that does not receive direct sunshine, as too much sun can wilt the greens.

Changing Water Regularly

It is vital to change the water every few days to maintain the scallions’ freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

Simply pour out the old water and replace it with fresh, cool water, taking care not to damage the scallions’ roots during the process.

Freezing Scallions

Freezing scallions is a straightforward process that extends their shelf life by several months, allowing you to enjoy their fresh flavor even out of season.

Pre-Freezing on a Baking Sheet

Before placing scallions in the freezer, you need to spread them out on a baking sheet. This prevents them from clumping together and ensures that each stalk freezes individually:

  1. Rinse your scallions thoroughly to remove any dirt.
  2. Pat them dry to prevent ice crystal formation.
  3. Trim off the roots, and if desired, cut the scallions into smaller pieces.
  4. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, ensuring they are not touching.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until the scallions are completely frozen.

Storing in Freezer Bags

Once the scallions are individually frozen, it’s time to store them in a manner that preserves their quality:

  • Use a freezer-safe bag to minimize the risk of freezer burn.
  • Label the bag with the date of freezing.
  • Transfer the frozen scallions into the bag.
  • Press out as much air as possible before sealing to prevent moisture buildup and oxidation.
  • Place the sealed bag back into the freezer.

Store raw scallions using this method; cooked ones may lose texture and flavor. Remember that properly stored frozen scallions can last about 6 months. When ready to use, there’s no need to thaw them; add directly to your dish.

Storing Cooked Scallions

When you have leftover cooked scallions, proper storage is key to maintaining their flavor for your next meal. Here’s how you can store them effectively:

Refrigeration:

  • Place your cooked scallions in an airtight container to prevent them from absorbing odors from other foods in your fridge.
  • Your cooked scallions will keep well for 2 to 3 days when refrigerated.

Freezing:

For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option.

  1. Allow the scallions to cool completely after cooking.
  2. Spread them out on a baking sheet, ensuring they’re not clumped together, and freeze them until solid.
  3. Transfer the frozen scallions into a freezer-safe bag or container. Label it with the date for future reference.
  4. Frozen scallions can last up to 10-12 months, but for optimal flavor, use them within 3-6 months.

Reheating:

  • Thaw frozen scallions in the fridge if you have time. For quick use, you can add them directly to hot dishes like soups, stews, or stir-fries.
  • Remember that repeated reheating can affect their texture and taste, so only reheat the amount you plan to use.

Incorporating frozen or refrigerated scallions into your recipes is straightforward. They’re excellent in dishes where they can blend into the overall flavor profile, such as those mentioned above.

Note: The texture of scallions can change once frozen, making them less suitable for raw dishes or garnishes, where you would prefer fresh scallions for their crunch.

Extending Scallion Shelf Life

To maximize the shelf life of scallions and potentially save money by reducing food waste, you can adopt methods to prevent rotting and even regrow your scallions. Implementing proper storage and regrowth techniques ensures an ongoing supply of fresh greens.

Regrowing Scallions

Scallions are unique in that you can regrow them from the remaining bulbs. After using the green tops, leave about an inch of the white base with the roots intact.

Place the roots in a jar with enough water to cover them (about 1-2 inches) and set the jar on a windowsill that receives ample sunlight. Change the water every couple of days. Within a week, you should see new growth. Repeat this process to continually harvest fresh scallions.

Preventing Spoilage

To prevent your scallions from rotting prematurely:

  • Trim the roots slightly without removing them entirely if you’re not planning to regrow them.
  • Fill a jar with 1-2 inches of water and place the root ends of the scallions into the water.
  • Cover the scallions loosely with a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. This creates a mini greenhouse effect.
  • Change the water every few days to keep the roots hydrated without becoming waterlogged.

By following these steps, your scallions can last up to two weeks, maintaining their freshness and reducing the likelihood of spoilage.

Ideal Conditions for Storing Scallions

Ensuring your scallions stay fresh involves maintaining optimal humidity and temperature, as well as controlling their exposure to light and airflow.

Humidity and Temperature

Scallions thrive in a cool and humid environment. The ideal temperature for storage is between 32°F and 40°F (0°C and 4°C), conditions that are typically found in your fridge. To manage moisture levels and prevent wilting:

  • Wrap the scallions in a damp paper towel.
  • Place them inside a perforated plastic bag to allow for some moisture retention while preventing excess humidity.
  • Store them in the crisper drawer, where humidity is higher and temperature is more constant.

Remember, the fridge maintains the coolness necessary to preserve the scallions without freezing them, while the humidity keeps them crisp.

Light and Airflow

Scallions should be kept out of direct sunlight as exposure can lead to wilting. When storing scallions, ensure:

  • They are in a dark place, preferably the fridge, away from any light sources.
  • There is adequate airflow around the storage container or bag to prevent ethylene accumulation, which can hasten spoilage.

Using Scallions from Storage

Storing scallions properly ensures they retain their texture and aroma for use in various dishes. Once you’re ready to use them, there are straightforward methods to thaw frozen scallions and incorporate them into your cooking.

Thawing Frozen Scallions

To thaw frozen scallions, remove the desired amount from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature. They should become flexible within a few minutes. Avoid using a microwave to thaw scallions, as this can cause them to become limp and lose some of their fresh flavor.

Incorporating into Dishes

Scallions can be used in a myriad of dishes to add a fresh, oniony flavor and a pop of green:

  • Salads: Thawed or refrigerated, chopped scallions can be tossed directly into salads.
  • Soups: Add them towards the end of cooking to maintain their texture and aroma.
  • Sauces: Blend scallions into sauces for a burst of flavor.
  • Stir-fries: Use either fresh from the refrigerator or thawed scallions in stir-fries. Add them last to preserve their crispy character.

Remember, thawed scallions may have a slightly altered texture, making them better suited for cooked dishes rather than raw applications.

Additional Tips for Scallion Storage

When it comes to keeping your scallions fresh, the way you package and handle them can make a significant difference. Here are some detailed tips to ensure optimal storage:

  • Labeling: Always put a date on your storage container or bag to track how long your scallions have been stored. This way, you can use them while they’re still fresh.
  • Packaging: For refrigeration, after trimming the roots and cleaning, pat the scallions dry with a paper towel. Then, wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel and place them inside a breathable, unsealed plastic bag to maintain the right humidity levels.
  • Transport: When bringing scallions home from the market, keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits, like bananas and apples, as this gas can cause them to deteriorate faster.

Maintaining Freshness:

  • Temperature: Store scallions at cool temperatures, typically between 32°F and 40°F, to slow down the degradation process.
  • Environment: Avoid placing them in areas where they’ll be exposed to warmth or direct sunlight. These conditions can hasten spoilage.

Long-Term Storage:

  • Freezing: For long-term storage, chop the scallions and freeze them on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and return them to the freezer. Remember: frozen scallions are best used in cooked dishes as they lose their crispness upon thawing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Storing scallions correctly can extend their freshness and flavor. Whether you’re looking to keep them crisp in the fridge or preserve them for longer periods, these FAQs provide clear guidance.

What is the best way to store scallions long term?

For long-term storage, scallions can be frozen. To do so, trim the roots and clean the scallions, pat them dry, chop them if desired, spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze until solid, and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container.

Can scallions be stored in the fridge to maintain freshness?

Yes, scallions can be stored in the fridge. Place them in a jar with some water at the bottom and cover them loosely with a plastic bag. This method keeps scallions fresh for about a week.

Is it possible to freeze spring onions, and if so, how?

Freezing spring onions is an effective method for preserving them. Chop the cleaned spring onions, spread them on a baking sheet to freeze individually, and then store in a freezer-safe container for up to six months.

What methods are recommended for storing cut scallions?

Cut scallions should be placed in an airtight container or a resealable bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. They can be refrigerated and used within a few days.

How can spring onions be preserved without refrigeration?

Without refrigeration, spring onions can be dried. Tie them in bunches and hang them in a well-ventilated area away from sunlight or scatter them on a rack to air dry. Once dried, store in an airtight container.

What are the steps to store spring onions in water effectively?

Fill a jar with water about an inch or two deep.

Place the root end of the scallions in the water, and cover the jar loosely with a plastic bag.

Change the water every few days, and keep the jar in the refrigerator.

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us