Green onions, also referred to as scallions, are used in a vast array of recipes to add flavor, color and pop in many dishes today.
While this is the case, a considerable number of people today are still confused about the part of this ingredient to use for which meal and how to chop it.
If you are confused about the part of green onion to use and how to cut it, you are not alone. Depending on the part of green onions you would like to use, there are several ways you can cut and slice it.
For instance, thin circles of the green ends of scallions are known to be great for garnishing dishes.
Thinly slivered scallions that have be sliced lengthwise, on the other hand are great for soups and ramen. Depending on what you are preparing, the right way of cutting green onions will vary.
Discussed below are the 3 main ways of cutting green onions you can use today.
Method 1: Slicing into Circles
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This is one of the commonest methods of cutting green onions. If this is your preferred way of chopping the ingredient, you should follow this procedure:
- Select the tender and small scallions (about 3 to 4 green onions should be enough). The selected green onions should be the ones that are still firm and have thin stalks.
- Rinse the selected green onions and place them on a chopping board.
- To avoid crushing the onions as you cut, it is advisable to work on smaller batches at a time—especially when you would like to prepare a large number of them.
- Again, you should not stack the onions on the cutting board because this will cause you to crush them as you cut.
- You may need to place the cutting board on a kitchen board to prevent it from sliding as you chop the onions.
- Having done that, you should cut off about 2 inches of the green tops and the root ends and discard them.
- In order to cut fine circles from your green onions, it is advisable to use a chef’s knife
- Using this knife, you should cut off another 1/8 inch to ¼ inch above the root end and the top of the green hollow ends.
- Now hold the scallions steadily in place using your non-dominant hand
- With the chef’s knife on your dominant hand, decide on the angle you would like to cut your green onions at
- To cut the scallions, you are supposed to slide the knife forward and bring it back
- While you can cut the circles to your preferred thickness, it is advisable to ensure that the thickness is between ¼ and ½
- To avoid crushing your green onions, you should avoid pushing downwards as you cut them
- You are supposed to use the scallions immediately after cutting them in order to get the best flavor
The thin scallion slices may be used for garnishes and the thicker ones for recipes that require you to actually cook the green onions, such as baked eggs.
Leftovers should be stored in a refrigerator to prevent them from going bad. When sliced scallions are stored in a refrigerator, they tend to become limp as time goes by.
To revive such onions, you should soak them in ice-cold water for about 30 minutes before using them.
Method 2: Chopping Large Green Onion Pieces
If your recipe dictates that you cut the green onions into relatively larger pieces, you should use a different procedure. In such a case, you should follow this procedure to chop large pieces:
- To begin with, you should cut off the hollow ends and roots of the green onions you would like to chop.
- Rinse the green onions and then place them on a cutting board
- Using a sharp knife, you are supposed to cut off and discard about 1/8 to ¼ inches of the root end. From the hollow tips, you are supposed to cut off and discard about 2 inches.
- If the green hollow ends of your scallions appear to be green and fresh, you may save them for garnishing rather than discard them
- Just as is the case with the above discussed procedure, you are supposed to use a chef’s knife to chop the onions for the best results
- Using the knife, you should cut the scallions into relatively large pieces about an inch long
- In order to keep the green onions intact, you should consider making sharp cuts across the onions
- While doing this, you should avoid cutting the dark green ends of the scallion. These need to be chopped into finer sections.
- Though not necessary, cuts made at about a 45-degree angle will give you a more unique look. Such a cut should result in diagonally-sliced sections.
Method 3: Cutting Long Scallion Strips
There are yet other recipes that require you to use long strips of green onions. In such a case, this is the procedure you should follow:
- Rinse and lay about 3 to 3 scallions in one layer on a cutting board in such a way that they lie next to each other. You should avoid stacking the onions as this will cause them to crush as you cut.
- As usual, cut off and discard about 2 inches of the green tops or save them for other applications.
- Use your non-dominant hand to hold the onions in place and the other one to hold the knife parallel to the onions.
- By holding the knife parallel to the onions, you will be able to make longer and thin strips of the green onions.
- To cut the onions, you should slide the knife across—by pulling the knife toward you.
- This should be done using smooth movements so as to slice the onions into thin longitudinal sections
- Continue slicing in this direction until you have sliced all the onions into such sections
- Now soak the longitudinal scallion sections into ice-cold water for about 30 minutes. You may as well place the soaked onions into the refrigerator to enhance the absorption of water by the onion strips.
- Soaked scallion strips may be refrigerated overnight and still retain their flavor and color
Whether it is for garnishing food or cooking applications, the way you cut your green onions can make a great difference. Depending on the particular recipe you are preparing, you need to ensure that you cut the onion correctly.
As you have learned throughout this guide, there are several ways of cutting scallions, and their suitability will depend on the intended application. However, cutting these onions is not rocket science—provided you follow the above described procedures, you should get what you want.