Sleuthing Scallions

Other than color, is there really a difference between the green and white parts of a scallion?

To find out if there were any differences between the parts of a scallion, we started by tasting raw scallions. Tasters described distinctly different flavor profiles for the white and green parts. The white section has a delicate, sweet taste similar to shallots, while the green portion has grassy notes and a peppery bite. When we used the raw scallions in salsa, tasters were still able to identify the same distinguishing characteristics; which worked better depended on individual taste. Finally, we cooked scallions in a pork stir-fry. Tasters didn’t notice major flavor differences, but the textures varied: The whites softened nicely while the greens wilted, taking on a limp texture that some tasters didn’t like.

So, if texture is an issue, cook only the white part and reserve the green portion to use as a garnish. When it comes to using the scallions raw, choose the white part for mild flavor and add the green for a strong, peppery taste.

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