Chives, green onions or scallions ― what’s the difference?
They might taste similar, and you might even be able to substitute one for the other in some recipes ― but they are definitely not the same plants.
Scallions and green onions (not chives) are actually the same thing ― alliums (specifically the genus and species Allium fistulosum). They’re long, green and floppy, with a bulb that doesn’t really bulge that much. Here’s what they look like:
Spring onions, which also look similar, are scallions that have matured, have a bigger bulb and are spicier and more pungent than scallions.
Chives, on the other hand, are also alliums, but a different species (schoenoprasum), and grow like weeds -- and for a few weeks in early spring can be found with pretty little purple flowers on them! Chives are much more pungent herbs, best used diced into smaller doses. Even better, a chive's flowers are also entirely edible, and Bon Appetit recommends throwing them in to add a colorful "oniony burst" to salads and stir fries.
Here are some flowering chives, picked up at a local farmer's market, followed by photos of chives with the flowers cut off:
Now that you're equipped with the knowledge, try out your chives in the recipes below: