Green onions are tricky to check for quality, but you can use a few techniques to determine their overall quality. When green onions start to wilt and dry in the fridge, they will begin to accumulate slime and have a duller appearance. If they start to accumulate slime, they will begin to go bad. You should be aware of severe changes in the texture and smell of green onions before using them, as these changes could indicate that they are spoilt. Here’s what you need to know about how long green onions last, signs of spoilage, and how to store them for the longest shelf life possible!
What Are Green Onions?
As one of the most consumed vegetables in the world, green onions are very versatile in terms of taste and texture. An onion bulb is connected to a long, leafy stalk at the end of a typical green onion. One of the great things about green onions is that they can be used in so many different ways! To add light crispiness and a distinct vegetable-like flavor, chop the stalks and use as a garnish.
With its crunchy texture and subtle onion-like flavor, the bulb at the bottom shares many of the characteristics of onion. Green onions, scallions, and regular onions are all the same – they are just harvested at different times! Green onions, however, are smaller, less dense, and more exposed to the environment than onions, which keeps them from going bad for as long as possible.
Signs Of Warning
You can tell when green onions are spoiling by these warning signs!
You can keep green onions for up to 3 weeks in the fridge if you store them properly (more on this below). The first warning sign of this vegetable is its change in appearance. Green onions are known for their fresh, green stalks with leafy tips.
If the vegetable is stored for too long, the stalk will droop and shrivel, indicating that it is going bad. If you don’t use the vegetable in the next few days, it will likely spoil. The texture of even older vegetables will also deteriorate as moisture is lost, causing the bulbs to lose their size as well.
A dark or dulled appearance in green onions may indicate spoilage, but a darker appearance is a good indicator of overall quality. It is still possible to use dulled green onions if they don’t show any obvious signs of spoilage, but the taste will be less than stellar.
Signs Of Spoilage
Here are a few tips to help you spot spoilage now that you know how to search for warning signs!
Upon wilting and drying, green onions are primed for bacterial growth. If stored longer, the bulb and leaves will develop a slimy appearance. The leafy part will not be affected by slime, but the bulb will take on a shiny appearance and become slippery as a result. Before storing other vegetables, dispose of the entire vegetable if it has slime on it and clean any surface that has slime on it.
Change In Color
A duller or darker appearance does not necessarily indicate spoilage, but a sharp discoloration may indicate something even more sinister. Patches of green, gray, or white growth must be examined closely as they may be mold. Check the patches for a fuzzy texture.
Since mold grows erratically, the patch will not have a signature shape, but it will be hazy around the edges. You should discard a vegetable that has been contaminated with mold, even if it appears on the surface – the mold’s spores have already compromised the vegetable.
A foul smell is another sign of spoilage! If the green onions give off a foul smell, then they are corrupt. Invading bacteria produce toxins and other byproducts that eventually accumulate and cause a sulfur-like odor in food. In this case, it is imperative to discard the vegetable and clean the surface where it was stored.
How To Store Green Onions
There are only a few basic storage best practices you need to follow when storing green onions! Keeping green onions dry is the first rule of storing them. Many people make the mistake of cleaning vegetables before storing them in the refrigerator. In this case, cleaning the vegetable will actually do more harm than good, despite our intuitive need to keep clean produce in the fridge. You can pat them dry, but the leaves will soak up some moisture, which will cause them to spoil.
Green onions can be stored dry and airtight without having to be washed. In case you purchased the onions in bulk, we highly recommend breaking them apart into smaller groups so that they can easily fit in the storage bag without being overcrowded. Keep the vegetables in a separate drawer and maintain a stable refrigerator temperature.
If kept at 40°F in the fridge, green onions will last about 3 weeks without losing much of their quality. In a traditional fridge, there is a crisper drawer that is specifically designed to store fresh produce. Instead of keeping bagged green onions on top of the shelf, move them into the crisper and make sure it is not crowded.
Ensure the ventilation vents on the drawer are open if the drawer has a separate ventilator cover. A full crisper drawer may cause moisture buildup. Green onions should also be kept away from fruits and vegetables that produce high levels of ethylene – this is a ripening hormone found in various fruits and vegetables.
Typical Storage Life Of Green Onions
In order to get maximum flavor and texture from green onions, you should consume them as soon as possible. Green onions can be stored in the fridge for up to 21 days, but they can also be frozen for up to 3–4 months to extend their shelf life even further. The same storage instructions apply, but instead of storing the whole vegetable in a freezer bag, chop it first before storing it.You can use chopped green onions directly in your recipes even if they thaw – just add them frozen and cook as needed!
The best way to thaw green onions is to move them from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight, instead of defrosting them in the microwave. Consume thawed green onions within 24 hours and avoid refreezing. Just wrap them in a paper towel and keep them in a cool, dry place if you don’t plan to store them for a long time. At room temperature, green onions will last about 3–4 days.
We recommend that you begin looking for warning signs and signs of spoilage before consuming 4–5-day-old green onions. The following is a quick overview of green onions’ storage life: Type of storageStorage durationRoom temperature2–4 daysFridge (40°F)2–3 weeksFreezer (0°F)3–4 months
The best way to store green onions is to follow a few simple best practices so that you can maintain their crispy bulb and tender stalk! In light of the fact that you now know how long they will last, here are some questions we thought you might have.
Should you blanch green onions before freezing them?
You do not need to blanch green onions before freezing them. Just make sure they are kept away from moisture to avoid freezer burn. For maximum quality and shelf life, wrap them in a paper towel and then store them in a freezer-safe bag.
How long do cooked green onions last?
In the fridge, cooked green onions will last between 2 and 3 days. While you could store them for up to 4 days, we recommend using them within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture. It is also possible to freeze dishes that contain cooked green onions for a few months at a time.