Spring is here! It’s time to celebrate the arrival of the alliums

April showers bring spring alliums. Huzah! We hang up our tote bags, hop to the farmers market, shout at all the fruits, flowers and vegetables, and then: Um, green garlic, is that you? Sorry, uh, I mean, green garlic is this you? It’s been a minute.

There’s a lot of pressure to make the most of the spring alliums, which are only here for a hot second, which is special and exciting. But that’s the problem. If you only date an ingredient once a year, how are you going to get used to it?

Say you’re going on a great first date. You talk for hours, you hug, maybe even kiss, then: Goodbye! See you next April! And it’s when you have your second date. And you repeat that every year. See how it goes. Spoiler alert: no good, don’t do this.

Spring alliums are like that. You would marry them if you could. But you can’t. So to get the most out of your spring adventure: an introduction, a background check, a dating profile. So when you meet this year, you’re already two steps ahead: you’re from New York, right? Hey, me too! You have a cat, don’t you? Hmm, same! Oh, you guys. You are going to be so good together. Consider this the dating app for onion family members.

Ramps

Ramps are the hottest alliums on the market. Also known as: wood leeks; Allium tricoccum. their season barely lasts a month but they bring a lot of energy and flavor during this short period. Raw or cooked, the flavor of ramps is strong, garlicky and super onion. What about their profile picture? In terms of appearance, the ramps are long, oval green leaves with thin, tender bulbs. The pressure is now there! What are you going to do together? Keep things crunchy with a pickled pickle; get funky with kraut or kimchi; stir-fry to mix with pasta or pile on polenta; char under the broiler or on the broiler, then sprinkle over the pizza; or turn into cheese and hazelnut pesto.

Carbonara ramp

Garlic chives

Garlic chives are a little more mysterious. They are less popular, less of an allium on the town so to speak. But give them a chance and you will fall in love. These vibrant greens are also known as Chinese chives, Chinese leeks, Allium tuberosum. Fun fact: Their white flowers are also edible (hello, Insta-friendly salad toppings!). We love a nice date that we can show on the ‘gram. As for their flavor, expect something assertive and garlicky. I told you you would be a fan.

When it comes to looks, what about the big, dark, brooding sound? They are flatter and thicker than standard scallions, and larger too (about 15 inches!), with a dark green tint. So what does your first date look like? “One of the most important ingredients in simple supper stir-fries and dumpling stuffings,” writes Fuchsia Dunlop in Every Grain of Rice. She sautéed them with pork or smoked tofu and turned them into an omelette. Our favourites: the scrambled eggs with almost burnt toast; butter noodles; Green goddess dressing.

garlic flowers

Garlic flowers are the life of the party. Everyone gets excited when they show up in the spring. They also like to go by other names, just to keep things spicy: look for stalks of garlic or Allium sativum. Fun fact: These grow from garlic bulbs, like hair, or from a Chia pet. A delicious allium with a good gene pool? Win-win! Their flavor is grassy, ​​garlicky and pungent, but not as pungent as the garlic itself. Much like the party animal who likes to be the center of attention, garlic scapes are everywhere, meandering here and there like green onion meets spaghetti. They look a bit tangled with endless greens, but that’s what makes them so fun. How to use: Fuchsia (see above) loves them too: “Once you discover the stalks of garlic, you won’t look back.” She sautéed them with bacon or mushrooms, both just begging to be served with scrambled eggs. Also good: allium fried rice, herb garlic bread; Pesto.

Arugula and garlic flower pesto

green garlic

Green garlic is the younger and bolder sibling of regular garlic. Literally! Also known as young garlic or spring garlic, this spring allium is just an immature garlic. (Who knew immature could be so tasty?). Flavor: sweeter than its future version, but just as punchy when raw, sweeter when cooked. Look: depends on the age of the garlic. As a tween, it’s a spring onion lookalike with a purplish-pink base. As he prepares to leave for college, his bulb becomes more, well, bulbous. To cook with green garlic, prepare as a leek, i.e. discard the hard parts (or save them for more common soups or broths), then chop the green and white parts. When I worked at a bakery, we poached chopped green garlic in honey water, then used it as a topping for crostatas. Despite their name, we treat them less like garlic and more like garlic. . .

Green garlic and new potato soup

Leeks

Also known as: “king of onion soup” (according to The Joy of Cooking) or Allium porrum, leek is like a sandy lifesaver. They are hearty, thin and super attractive. They look like a Hulk-ified shallot. Fun fact: OK, more like a warning: those treasure grains! Either split lengthwise or chop, then wash, then wash again. Remember that they spent a lot of time in the sun getting ready for their first date and they didn’t have time to take a deep shower. As for their flavor, leeks are quite mild, slightly oniony and a bit sweet. Directions: Turn leeks into thick, bubbly soups, especially chicken and matzo balls; sauté, like onions, and put toward a frittata or creamy pasta; braise until jammy and top with something crispy like breadcrumbs or bacon bits or both.

Braised leeks

spring onions

Spring onions are kind of like cousins ​​that are very close and look alike, but aren’t really the same. Also known as: spring onions, this is not the same as a green onion (see below!). The flavor of spring onions is sweet and mellow; consider them a walk-in-the-door allium for people who “don’t like” onions. They look a lot like green onions, but with a more curved bottom; the bulb can be white or red. How to use: vinegar-pickle; grill whole; or, divide and conquer, treating green stems like green onions, bulbs like tiny onions.

Corn, spring onion and ricotta tart

Green onions

Just to keep it really confusing, in Canada and the UK they are sometimes also known as spring onions, but they are also known as green onions. Their onion taste, brave and slightly spicy. You probably recognize green onions (they’re picked year-round), but as a reminder, they’re thin with firm white bottoms and hollow, green, tubular tops. How to use: Finely chop as a topping for anything that needs a raw pop or crisp (think grain salads, fried rice); char and turn into gremolata for grilled protein, from chicken to tofu, fish to steak; embers in blissful and impertinent oblivion; Crepes!