“Don’t waste your food, Megan! Do you know how many starving children there are around the world?”
Well, I guess the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one. My farm manager told me she was about to go mow in the backfields, where we’d been collecting rogue green onions for a few weeks. There were at least a hundred plants back there, and that just wasn’t going to sit right with me. Scallions are a fantastic source of flavonoids and phytonutrients which boost the immune system and strengthen the heart. One cup of ’em also provides double your daily dose of Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and bone strengthening.
So…what do you do with 100 green onions?
Eat them raw: top salad, soup, or any dish where some fresh, light onion flavor is desired (pasta, beans, curry, stir fry, baked potatoes, etc. etc. etc.)
Freeze them whole or chopped: seriously, simple as that – they freeze really well in tupperware or a plastic bag
Caramelize them: I sliced the bottoms of about 20 (and another batch of 40) and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil on a very low heat for almost an hour. The onions get browned, sweet and can be eaten on grains, pizza, with vegetables or by themselves. These also freeze well.
Make quick pickles: For a pint jar, slice up your scallions (or other vegetable) and add them to the jar. Bring 3/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. salt, a pinch of peppercorns, one dried hot pepper, and a hint of honey to boil. Pour it over your scallions. Let cool to room temperature, then put a lid on it and pop it in the fridge. Eat within the month (or do some water bath canning to preserve much longer).
Ferment them: I’ll have to do a longer post about fermented foods to convey both their delicious taste and major health benefits, but for now, just know that this is a 3-ingredient, essentially no work involved situation. Chop up the top parts of scallions, massage with salt and hot pepper, place into a jar or crockpot and let sit until juices form, then using a smaller jar filled with water, keep the scallions submerged under their own liquid. Let sit on your counter, covered, for another week or so until it tastes and smells pungent and spicy, but not unpleasantly sour. Eat probiotics for better health: improve digestion, enhance immune function, normalize skin health, maintain strong bones and keep blood sugar levels regular!
Make “pesto”: Blend a bunch of scallions with some garlic, sesame seeds, salt and lemon juice. Use in grain or legume dishes, on bread, as a dip for veggies or freeze for future use.
Here are some other ways to reduce food waste. Whatever you do, don’t put it in your trash. There are many statistically significant studies that food releases methane when it breaks down, contributing to a host of environmental problems. Check to see if your city does curbside composting, ask your neighbors or local farms if they’d take it from you, or save your veggie scraps to make broth (I keep a ziploc bag in the freezer and add ends of onions, tops of carrots, bottoms of asparagus, peelings of potatoes, etc – when the bag is full, I dump it in water, add some salt and simmer until it’s veggie broth deliciousness).
Now if I could just find the time to preserve all the extra vegetables we have each week after our CSA distribution….