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Home Food & Recipes What's the Difference Between Chives, Spring Onions, Scallions?

What’s the Difference Between Chives, Spring Onions, Scallions?

Confused as to which is which? You're not alone!

Whenever we dine out at restaurants, there is always at least one dish we would order that comes out plated beautifully with green bits on top. Most of us always assumed that these green bits were chopped spring onions, but they might have actually been a different type of garnish!

That’s because scallions and chives also exist. This green stalky vegetable and herb, respectively, are both green as well and are used to garnish dishes, too. For customers, it usually doesn’t matter which one the chef puts on top— as long as it tastes good, it would be fine. But for cooks, chefs, and those trying to cook at home during the quarantine, it does matter! (Read: Wow, This Plant-Based Lechon Belly Is Worth Trying!)

Following a recipe with one of these three ingredients can be difficult if you don’t know the differences between them. That’s why My Pope is listing what each of them is and how you can substitute one with the other if ever you run out of stock in the kitchen.

Green Garnishes: Spring Onions

Photo from Specialty Produce

Spring onion is older than green onions and scallions as it was harvested a bit later. In places with different seasons, spring onions are planted towards the end of summer so they would grow throughout winter, and are harvested during— you guessed it— spring.

Spring onions have a stronger flavor as it has been aged for a long time but has a milder taste than regular onions. To identify it, check for a white, rounded bulb on its base.

Green Garnishes: Scallions

Photo from FODMAP Everyday

Scallion is a type of onion as well, but is much younger than spring onions. It is harvested early so it doesn’t grow to a regular-sized onion anymore. It is the youngest of the three (green onions, spring onions, and scallion), so you can easily identify it by looking at the white bulb at its base that is only almost as wide as its stem. (Read: Sofitel Manila to Hold ‘al Fresco’ Food Truck Festival Every Weekend)

You can check out this link for recipes that make use of scallions.

Green Garnishes: Chives

Photo from Kristy Mucci / Saveur

Chives on the other hand is an herb, unlike scallions and spring onions. It has a milder flavor compared to these onion varieties, that’s why more chives are needed if you are substituting it in a recipe. Chives are usually just thin green stalks with no bulbs at the bottom.

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