- The Welsh onion, Allium fistulosum L. (green onion, Japanese bunching onion, spring onion, escallion), is a member of the onion family, Alliaceae.
- The names are ambiguous, as some may also be used to refer to any young green onion stalk, whether grown from Welsh onions, traditional bulbing onions, or other members of the onion family, in particular scallions, a separate species of Allium.
- Next to culinary use, it is also grown in a bunch as an ornamental plant.
Know your Welsh Onion - Botany
- The species originated in Asia, possibly Siberia or China.
- The species is very similar in taste and odour to the related garden onion, Allium cepa, and hybrids between the two (tree onions) exist, see Tree Onion.
- The Welsh onion, however, does not develop bulbs, and possesses hollow leaves ("fistulosum" means "hollow") and scapes.
- Large varieties of the Welsh onion resemble the leek, such as the Japanese 'negi', whilst smaller varieties resemble chives.
- Many Welsh onions can multiply by forming perennial evergreen clumps.
Know your Welsh Onion - Name Origins
- Historically, the Welsh onion was known as the 'cibol'.
- The name "Welsh onion" has become a misnomer in modern English, as Allium fistulosum is not indigenous to Wales. "Welsh" preserves the original meaning of the Old English word "welisc", or Old German "welsche", meaning "foreign".
Know your Welsh Onion - Culinary Use
- The Welsh onion is widely used in cooking.
- In spring, Welsh onion is traditionally used in Russia for adding green leaves to salads.
- Welsh onion is an ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially in East and South-east Asia.
- In Japan it is used in miso soup, negimaki (beef and scallion rolls)among others.
- In Vietnam, Welsh onion is important to cook dưa hành (a kind of kimchi) served for Tết festival.
- A kind of sauce, mỡ hành (Welsh onion fried in oil), is used in some dished such as cơm tấm, bánh ít, cà tím nướng and others.
- Welsh onion is the only ingredient in the dish cháo hành (a dish to treat the common cold).
- Known as escallion, the Welsh onion is an ingredient in Jamaican cuisine, in combination with thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic and allspice (called pimenta).
- Recipes with escallion sometimes suggest leek as a substitute in salads.
- Jamaican dried spice mixtures using escallion are available commercially.
- The Jamaican name is probably a variant of scallion, the term used loosely for the spring onion and various other plants in the genus Allium.