Green Onions—One of the Most Affordable Superfoods!

The green onion. There’s not a lot of hoopla around this vegetable. Yet it’s indispensible when it comes to a good green salad. And it’s an attractive veggie as well—so much so that it’s often used sliced, as a garnish. Then there’s their umami factor. They add umami to any dish — just chop and sprinkle onto everything from soups and stews to stir fries or mashed potatoes.

But wait—there’s so much more. They’re one of the least expensive vegetables in the produce department. In fact, they are an affordable superfood. That’s saying something, because most superfoods (think acai berries, chia seeds, lingon berries, gogi berries, and so on) are fairly expensive.

All in all, green onions just don’t get the credit they deserve. There ought to be a lot more hoopla around this veggie. So let’s talk about this everyman’s superfood. What makes them so?

Well first, when it comes to health benefits, think of green onions as onions on steroids. Onions in general deliver some amazing health benefits, and green onions contain those same healthy compounds — but in a higher concentration.

On the Care2 site, food researcher, Becky Striepe, went into detail about their benefits. “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. And like the typical large onion, green onions contain compounds that:

  • support immune health

  • regulate blood sugar

  • are anti-inflammatory

  • prevent cancer (thanks to the phytonutrient quercetin)

  • protect from peptic ulcers (by inhibiting the growth of a bacteria that attacks the stomach lining)”

Those of us that garden know that a green onion is just an onion that’s harvested before it’s 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.

When shopping for them, it’s not hard to tell when green onions are at their best. They’re bright green, crisp, and you shouldn’t see any sliminess.

But 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!

Store them 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.

In closing, I’ll finish with another very cool thing about green onions: 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 move it to your garden. How about it? Does this veggie not deserve a little hoopla—it’s a superfood in so many ways!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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