Spring onions can be used for so much more than just adding to your Peking Duck pancakes. When raw or very lightly cooked they impart a wonderfully vibrant yet mild flavour where normal onions would be overpowering. Make some champ by folding chopped spring onions into creamy mashed potatoes - add some grated cheddar if you like - and marvel at how such a simple dish can taste so fantastic. Or combine with ginger to form the soul of a number of classic Chinese and Japanese dishes.

Spring onions are now available throughout the year but the youngest and most tender onions are usually found in spring and early summer.


Onions have been used as a foodstuff since prehistoric times and were cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. References to spring onions occur in Chinese literature dating back over two thousand years.


Spring onions are simply white onions harvested at a young age. They belong to the same family as garlic, leeks, shallots and chives.


The smallest, thinnest onions are the youngest and best. Choose onions with straight leaves and white bulbs.

Keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Trim off the root and any dry or tired looking bits from the green tops. The bulb area can be eaten raw or cooked but the tops are best when chopped and added to a dish just before serving.


In the Tarragona area of Spain a type of spring onion known as calçots are the subject of annual festivals (the calçotadas) traditionally held in January or February. To start the gastronomic celebrations, calçots are grilled on charcoals, wrapped in newspaper and then eaten with a Romescu-style sauce made with nuts, garlic, tomatoes, bread, vinegar, oil and parsley. The feasting continues with grilled meats washed down with plenty of wine.