Hello everyone! We hope you are enjoying this lovely June. It’s time to gear up for Father’s Day barbecues, so this week we have a special post on one of our favorite springtime veggies- the spring onion.
What is the difference between a regular onion and a spring onion?
Spring onions are harvested very early in the season (hence the name) before the bulbs have had a chance to grow to their full adult size. They are delicious little treats with a very sweet taste. Although some people and stores refer to spring onions, shallots, and green onions interchangeably, these three food items are quite different.
Green onions are the stalks of very immature onions, even younger than spring onions, and they have a very mild taste. Shallots are elongated and brown. They look a bit like heads of garlic, but darker in color. Spring onions, on the other hand, have a small bulb and a more intense flavor than green onions, but are a different species than shallots (though both are in the genus Allium).
These juvenile onions have less of the volatile compounds that cause your eyes to water when you cut an adult onion, which is a great benefit if you are cutting a lot of them for a barbeque! The lack of these compounds also makes the taste of these onions sweeter.
Did you know that when onions are cut, they release a gaseous compound called propanethiol S-oxide, which reacts with the water in our eyes to form sulfuric acid, causing the burning sensation? Yikes! Here’s a fun little explanation of that process from a chemist. Wiki-How also has a page of fun suggestions on how to avoid burning eyes while cutting onions.
So this weekend, if the weather permits, enjoy a few grilled spring onions with your Father’s day barbecue!