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How to Tell if Green Onions Have Gone Bad (with photos!)

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Here's how to easily tell if green onions have gone bad! Green onions, also called scallions and spring onions, add a vibrant and delightful kick to many dishes, but they can rot surprisingly quickly.

I'll show you how to look out for signs your green onions are going bad, how to store them correctly and answer a few FAQs about green onions.

Scallions with dried leaves.
Green onions with yellow, dry leaves.
A bunch of scallions.
Fresh green onions with no signs of rot.

Signs of Rot in Green Onions

Look for these signs to see if your green onions have gone bad.

  1. Slimy Texture - older green onions may develop a slimy texture or stickiness, especially on the white and light green sections. Green onions with any sort of sliminess are no longer good to eat.
  2. Discoloration - if the stalks of the green onions are turning yellow or brown they are likely too old to eat. Yellowing or browning leaves are a sign they will no longer taste good.
  3. Wilting - if the majority of the dark green sections on your green onions are wilting and seem dry, they are past their prime.
  4. Smell - if the green onions have a smell that's acrid or ammonia-like, they are past their prime and shouldn't be eaten. They won't taste good and they may make you sick.
Scallions with some dry leaves and some rotting leaves.
Scallions past their prime.

The Best Way to Store Green Onions

Green Onions are best when kept in the refrigerator crisper drawer in a loose, perforated bag or lightly wrapped in a moist paper towel.

If you buy green onions from the grocery store they often come tightly wrapped in plastic. You can release the knot if they are in a bag or cut a few slights in the plastic wrap to allow for some air movement.

If your green onions are starting to wilt, you can revive them by cutting off a little of the white ends and placing them in a glass of cool water for a few hours. This will rehydrate them, but they should be used as soon as possible.

Green Onion FAQs

How long do green onions keep in the fridge?

Green onions will keep anywhere from one to two weeks in the refrigerator.

For best results, store them loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer.

Do you need to store green onions in the fridge?

Yes, in general, green onions should be stored in the refrigerator.

The exception to this is keeping them on the countertop in a glass of cool water. This hydrates the green onions, but they should be used more quickly as they will not keep as long outside of the fridge.

Are green onions with a bad smell okay to eat?

Green onions with an acrid or sour smell should not be eaten.

Can you freeze green onions?

Yes, you can freeze green onions. I suggest chopping them and placing them in a freezer bag for storage. They will keep for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container.

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