Below, we’ll discuss how to tell if green onions are bad, so you can avoid using spoiled onions in your cooking.
We’ll cover the different signs of spoilage to look out for, such as changes in color, texture, and odor.
We’ll also provide tips on how to store green onions properly to prolong their freshness and prevent them from going bad. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently identify whether your green onions are still good to use or if it’s time to toss them out.
What is a Green Onion?
Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are a type of onion that is harvested before the bulb has fully developed. They have a long, thin white stem with a small, round green top, and they have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that is less pungent than regular onions. Green onions are commonly used in cooking as a flavor ingredient, and they are a popular garnish for dishes such as salads, soups, and omelets.
Green onions are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, both raw and cooked. They can be sliced and added to salads or sandwiches for a burst of flavor, or they can be minced and sautéed or stir-fried to add flavor to soups, stews, and other dishes. Green onions are also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron.
How To Tell If Green Onions Are Bad?
Green onions can go bad if they are not stored properly or if they have been in the refrigerator for too long. To tell if spring onions have gone bad, you should check for signs of spoilage, such as a slimy texture, discoloration, or an off-putting odor. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the spring onions and avoid eating them.
Below we detail when green onions should not be used because they are, in fact, bad.
Smell is the first factor to help you recognize whether the green onions are bad or not. At first glance, you can definitely find out if the scallions have already rotted or not by their distinctive stinky smell.
Green, regular onions, similarly to other herbs like coriander, have a neutral, so-so aroma that we find it hard to attach the term because there is no distinctive scent, though!
That being said, when you can notice a strange, rotten fragrance from this plant, the answer is obvious: that onion should be in the trash can.
As its name indicates – “green” onion – the fresh scallions always have the signature greenish, verdant color. So, if the scallions suddenly change their color, then there may be some problems going on with it.
Based on our experience, most green onions will slowly turn yellowish or brownish if not being fresh and “healthy”.
Onion molds are another factor on the list. Typically, whenever you buy fresh green onions from the market, there will always be some black, or brown spots on the first outer layer of onion strands.
Contrary to people’s concern, these black spots are just a sign of fungus from the soil that is attached to the onion strips while it grows up.
It is so simple to resolve the case: just cut out these areas and wash the plants again, that’s it.
However, if there are repetitively dark spots on multiple outer layers of the strand, then the case is another story. If you notice that there are just too many black spots, it’s better to get rid of the onion.
If you have ever chopped down an onion, you’ll already know that there is a white liquid coming out from the food.
People may think that it is just water extracting, but this onion juice is important to define whether the onion goes bad or not.
To be specific, this liquid, made from natural sugars and starches from inside the onion, looks milky, fruity and tastes bitter.
So, if you see the white juice extracted from an onion, then it has proved that the onion is totally at the “normal” status.
However, if the liquid coming out is not milky, white, and juicy as illustrated above, then you should check out the scallions to see whether any spoilage happens.
How Long Do Green Onions Last In The Fridge?
Like other fresh vegetables, scallions need a cool, dry storage environment with appropriate temperature for longer freshness.
If the green onions are kept in the refrigerator right after purchasing and removing the roots, without taking in and out of the fridge many times – then the green onions can be stored for more than 10 days to up to 2 weeks.
In the case the green onions are stored in a sealed ziplock bag without any water drop remaining, then its fridge life can even extend up to 3 weeks or a month.
If you tend to keep the scallions for a longer period, then we advise you to freeze green onions so that the shelf life can last from 10 to 12 months.
In the previous section, we discuss the green onion’s fridge life in terms of time. However, among these three factors, the temperature is what can directly and seriously influence the longevity of green onions.
The typical heat range for storing food in a household is from 37 to 40 degrees F (0 to 4 degrees C). If having proper storage during this range, then the onion can last for half a month, as mentioned above.
If you want to delay the shelf life to a few months but remain in the typical heat range in the fridge, then covering onions in papers or towels can help.
However, the most effective storing method for veggies is freezing them. The procedure is similar to the method used for refrigerating them.
- Wash the onions
- Remove roots and edges
- Wipe out water
- Store in air-tight containers
- Put in the freezer with an ideal temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Protective Outer Layers
Unlike other food, when storing green onions, it’s a must to pay attention to the outer layers of the onion. Without these important outer layers, the quality of onion leaves can change completely.
To be specific, every onion strand has some outer layers to “protect” its core. The more layers a strand has, the older it is.
However, the coating also works as a “shield” to avoid dehydration and bacteria from the environment.
So, if the strand’s layer is broken or accidentally cut, then that strip will have a higher chance of dehydrating and rotting quickly.
As a result, if you see any of your green onion leaves have lost the outer layer, then quickly store it in the fridge or freezer to stop the rotting process.
For the entire onions, there is no need to worry about this incident.
How To Store Green Onions
There are many methods for green onion storage. In this article, we will introduce you to the most common way, recommended by many experienced cooks, both professional and amateur: sandwiched green onions with tissue and an airtight container (or bag).
Here are what you have to prepare for this procedure: fresh green onions, a big air-tight bag, a knife, 3 to 4 pieces of thick, leathery tissue.
Step By Step
After having all ingredients and equipment mentioned above, now let’s start!
Remove all rubber bands, if available, on the green onions. Typically, when buying scallions from the local wet market, sellers will provide you green onions tightened in rubber bands, so please pay attention to that.
Then, wash each green onion strand carefully under fresh water.
Use a sharp knife in your kitchen to cut all onions’ roots off. Many people usually ignore this step, but it is the most important stage because the root is where moisture will extract, and if you forget to remove the root, the onions will quickly be dehydrated and turn bad.
Trim off the edges of veggies until it fits the ziplock bag. When cutting, if there is water remaining on the onions’ strip, gently wipe them down with a paper towel.
Cover the green onions with a tissue. Please choose big tissues so that they can fully cover the onion strands. Typically, we use about five pieces to coat the “green” part and two pieces to top up the “white” part. Then, put the fully-covered onions into a big ziplock bag.
Seal the bag with a professional sealer machine. In case you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just place one finger in the middle of the pack, pressure the bag to pull out all the air inside, and quickly tighten the open zip of the bag.
Here is the essential step of the whole procedure: weekly check-up on the onions. Please take it seriously!
After a week, it’s advisable to open the ziplock bag, take out the scallions green, wipe down moisture remaining, and remove bad onion strands if needed. Consequently, repeat the previous procedure: cover green onions in a dry, thick, sterile paper towel, re-put it in the zip bag, then refrigerate.
Tips For Keeping Onions Fresh
- If available, wrap each onion strand in a different tissue to avoid humidity among onion strips.
- Seal the containing bag tightly not to allow any air to go inside
- Remove the root before washing and storing the onion for the first time.
- Discharge bad onions weekly to ensure the rooted bacteria won’t expose to other strands and affect the quality of the onion.
- The best environment is a cool, dark place between 45 and 55 Fahrenheit degrees.
- Place the storing bag at the top racks, or put it over other foods and items in the fridge to not damage the fragile onion strands.
How To Dry Green Onions?
There are six steps that you should do to dry scallions. First, turn on the dehydrator machine up to 95 Fahrenheit (35 Celsius degree), then let it warm up.
While the dehydrator is activating, cut off root ends of all the green onions strands, and wash it carefully.
Next, trim the onions’ edges and slice them into small pieces. Finally, put all sliced onions into the dehydrator, set the heat at exactly 95 Fahrenheit, and wait for 3 to 5 hours.
What part of the green onion do you use?
The green onions are so useful and widely preferred because of its versatility. From top to bottom, from the white rings to the green “leaves”, the part of the veggies can be chosen to make tasty foods.
For example, the white rings alone are extremely delicious when dried with breadcrumbs, and eat with mayonnaise – chili sauce.
To add-in, the white parts, when nestled with fish sauce, make a bizarre appetizer for some Indochina dishes.
How To Cut Green Onions
Most people think that cutting thin greens like scallions is so easy that it doesn’t even need a tutorial. However, that is a wrong perception. Without proper technique, the greens can be spoiled, bruised, or lost its savor.
Step 1: Discharge any layers of the onions that seem bad and wilted
Step 2: use a large, sharp knife in the kitchen to cut out the root ends and the white rings in case it is too rough
Step 3: Lining up greens, and slowly slicing them into small items.
If you have a high knife-using technique, then you can also try the circular motion when chopping down the scallions for a faster cutting pace.