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One Thing a Day: Re-Grow Green Onions

Welcome back to our irregular “one thing a day” series, where today, we are re-growing and re-planting green onions. What’s One Thing a Day? Well, this is the series where we increase our future selves’ happiness… when our current selves focus on accomplishing just: One thing a day!

One Thing a Day: Re-Grow green onions to use in recipes and plant in your garden. Get another round out of every bunch of scallions!

You’ll always find a little dish of green onions (scallions) growing on my windowsill, because they’re just that easy — and, I love having them on hand! You might as well get another round out of every bunch you buy, and save both money & packaging. I just added another little one to this dish yesterday, so thought I’d tell you about how simple these are to re-grow, and how handy they are to have around.

Update: See photo further down, but I re-planted these outdoors in April… and haven’t had to buy green onions all summer! 🙂

It’s Easy to re-grow green onions

chop green onion above the white part

Even if you don’t have a particularly green thumb, you can grow green onions — and get a continued glimpse of spring, even on the grayest winter’s day. Whenever you chop up a scallion, save the bottom white part and put it root-side down in just little bit of water. (Use enough to cover the roots and come about 1/2-3/4 of the way up the white part.)

Stick your dish of regrowth in a sunny windowsill, and your green onion bottoms will start pushing up new green shoots within the next day or two. Change out the water every couple of days, and you’re good to go.

I continue adding to my little pot of re-grown onions as I use up the rest of the bunch, so generally have multiple new growth going at varying stages. Once your re-grown scallions have reached a reasonable size, just start snipping off the green tops to use in your favorite recipes.

Pretty up your food

top food with green onions for contrast

You may have noticed that my recipe photos here often sport chopped green onion (or parsley, or other bits of green). That little bit of contrasting color perks up a lot of foods which would otherwise be a bit monochromatic and washed out. Plus, they’re a tasty addition! Throw chopped green onion on anything from chili to stir fry, from nachos to casseroles.

How to chop green onions?

chop green onions with scissors

Because I’m usually in a hurry to top my food with freshly chopped green onions, I tend just to snip them quickly with kitchen shears — or, in a pinch, a clean pair of scissors. You can buy fancy herb scissors for this purpose, too, if you want to speed up the process. (I actually have a pair of these buried in my utensil drawer somewhere…)

If you prefer to use a knife to chop your green onions, think less of chopping than of slicing them with a pulling action. Don’t chop straight down, because you’ll just crush the delicate shoots. Instead, bunch several scallions together and use a sharp chef’s knife to slice them, pulling it quickly towards you.

And yes, you can use the white part of a green onion as well. I usually leave most of mine for the re-growing, however: It’s not as pretty atop the food, and has a stronger flavor.

Re-plant scallions in your garden

green onions chives and herbs in the garden

At my old house (as shown above), I always planted some of green onions I was regrowing — shown here along with a bunch of chives my neighbor had given away. These were a fantastic addition to my yearly herb garden! I’m looking forward to doing the same here this year once the weather allows. (Oh, Chicago… it’s the third week of April, and it snowed this morning…)

let green onions grow roots

This is easy-peasy: Leave the green onions in water for a bit, and they not only grow new green onions out of the top, but they grow beautiful roots out of the bottom. Once you have a good-sized root on yours, you can either plant them in a pot on your windowsill, or directly in your garden outside.

Or, pop them in a pot!

green onions and chives in a pot

Update! This year, I planted my green onions in a planter pot on my patio, along with some chives a friend gave me from her garden. They’ve been going nuts out there, giving me a steady supply of the tallest, largest green onions you ever did see. (I planted them at the end of April, and the photo above was taken on Oct. 27… so, it’s been a good long season of freshness.)

What else can you re-grow from scrap?

re-growing celery from scrap

Green onions are the easiest, but you can also re-grow a number of other vegetables in water, then replant them in your garden. Chop off the bottom of a celery bunch or a heart of romaine, for instance, and these grow again much in the same way. (Pardon the old sad photo from a number of years ago, but this is new celery pushing its way up out of the old.)

What one thing will you do today?

One last question, while we’re questioning: What one thing will you do today? Don’t get me wrong, we all still have to eat (and those of us with kids and families still have to make sure that they eat).

When I say “one thing,” I’m not saying, don’t get dinner on the table. Instead, I’m saying: What’s one bonus food-related task you can do today, that will make you happy (relieved, excited) to have done in the future.

What are some other examples of one thing a day? Well, how about:

What one thing will you do today?

Stephanie Treanor

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Love this! Thanks for the tips on how to make them regrow their green shoots! And it is snowing here in Kentucky, too, so I feel ya!