When I was in high school, having authentic Chinese food for every meal was something I took for granted. Now, as a 20-year-old child, I keep finding myself browsing food blogs trying to find a recipe that feels familiar, but knowing the names of many staple ingredients in Mandarin and not in English has proven to be a challenge.

Green onions were one of the ingredients my grandparents used in nearly everything.

And they make the perfect houseplant if you’re looking for new, green friends to keep you company.

Growing Green Onions

Roots of green onions in water.
Illustration by Ry X.

If you try hard enough, you can grow green onions in just about anything. An old egg carton, a small mason jar, or a dining hall cup stolen by the people who used to live in your apartment. Although they’re not picky, if you’re keeping them in water, you’ll want something clear, like a glass jar.

  1. Take your batch of green onions and cut the green tops until the onions are about two inches long, not including the roots. You can eyeball it, just make sure to keep all of the white bulbs intact.
  2. Toss them into your vessel of choice, set them upright, and pour in water. You want at least half an inch of onion above water, but really all you need to do is to cover the roots and bulbs. Change the water every two to three days to keep it fresh.
  3. Green onions like the sun, so keep them in a bright spot in the kitchen or outside if you’re opting for a planter or pot.
  4. Watch them grow and cut off what you need when you need it.

Green onions usually last 3-4 full growths in water, but they’ll last longer planted in dirt. It’s the same as growing them in water, just replace the jar with a nice pot, and the water with soil. Water about once a week.

Cooking With Green Onions

Hard boiled eggs and noodles.
Illustration by Ry X.

I put these green onions just about everything.

If you’re scrambling eggs for breakfast, you can toss some thinly sliced green onions in for a flavorfully crunchy twist. Or if you’re having a bowl of ramen, throw in some green onions and baby bok choy to make sure you get your greens.

Frying some leftover rice? Why not add green onions?

Whether starting or finishing your day off with congee, you can sprinkle in some green onions for a pop of color any time you want. They’re a versatile addition to just about anything you can think of.

Green onions are made for eating, and you can never have too much of them.

Chopped green onions.
Chopped green onions go well with any savory dish. Illustration by Ry X.