Turn Your Spring Onion Foliage into Green Onion Powder

Green onion poweder

Onions are a staple in every kitchen, and if you’re a gardening enthusiast, growing them in your own backyard can be a rewarding experience. While waiting for the onion bulbs to mature, you can also harvest the flavorful green onion tops, which are not only edible but can also be preserved and used in various ways. 

This past spring I came up with this method for transforming those green onion tops into homemade green onion powder. By doing so, you can reduce waste, add a unique flavor to your dishes, and create a beautiful addition to your spice collection.

Spring onion foliage in the garden
While spring onion bulbs are slowly forming underground, some of the green tops can be harvested to eat fresh or to dry for green onion powder.

The Benefits of Green Onion Tops

The large green foliage on bulbing onions, commonly known as spring onion tops, can be harvested and used fresh or dried for their distinct flavor. These tops, which grow on red, white, or yellow onions, provide a rich and vibrant taste that is a perfect complement to a variety of dishes. It’s important to note that smaller scallions, while delicious, may not provide enough foliage to make a substantial amount of green onion powder.

Basket of onion greens harvested to make green onion powder
Spring onion foliage collected after an onion "haircut."

What You'll Need for Green Onion Powder

If you want to give this homemade onion powder project a try, here is what you’ll need:

  • Lots of onion foliage and scapes from your garden, local farm or farmer’s market
  • Dehydrator or oven
  • Blender, food processor, or spice grinder
  • A jar and labels
Onions chopped on dehydrator to make green onion powder
Spring onion greens chopped and going into the dehydrator to dry them for green onion powder.

Harvesting and Preserving Green Onion Tops

To start the process of creating homemade green onion powder, you’ll need a healthy patch of onions in your garden or access to fresh onion tops from a local source. By trimming the tops and scapes of the spring onions, you not only obtain edible greens to preserve but also help the onion bulbs stay upright by reducing their top-heavy weight. It’s important to leave about one-third of the foliage intact to ensure the onions can continue to grow and photosynthesize.

Once the onion tops are trimmed, chop them into small pieces and lay them out on dehydrator trays. Spread the pieces evenly to ensure proper drying. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also use your oven at the lowest temperature setting. The goal is to dry the onion pieces on a low heat to retain their vibrant green color and fresh flavor. Typically, a temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit works well, and the drying process takes approximately a day or overnight.

Onion flower
This onion scape is unfurling to form a flower. Scapes are edible and delicious. Harvest these before going to flower to help ensure the plant is directing energy to the bulb.

Transforming Onion Greens into Green Onion Powder

When the onion pieces are crispy and no longer bendy, it’s time to turn them into powder. Using a food processor, blender, or spice grinder, process the dried onion pieces until they break down easily and evenly. The resulting powder should have a fine texture. If there are any stubborn pieces that refuse to break down, simply remove them from the powder.

Don’t have a dehydrator? Try drying them in your oven on a cookie sheet at the lowest temperature it has. Before I splurged on a dehydrator I used my oven to dry many herbs and spices.

Dehydrated foliage for green onion powder
When you dehydrate slowly at a low temperature, the foliage retains its vibrant green color and flavor.

Storing and Using Homemade Onion Powder

To store your homemade green onion powder, transfer it to an airtight jar and label it with the date and contents. Using small herbal jars and labels can add a special touch to your homemade spice collection or make for thoughtful gifts for friends and family who appreciate homemade seasonings.

CanningCrafts is a great source for hand designed labels. That’s my go-to source to find labels for all of my homegrown seasoning and apothecary collection.

Alternatively, you can store the dried onion pieces whole and rehydrate them later in soups, broths, or chili. They can also be processed into a small batch of powder when you’re ready to use them.

Now that you have your own homemade onion powder, use it in the kitchen as a flavorful seasoning. Sprinkle it onto roasted or steamed vegetables to add a delicious kick. Use it in salads or salad dressings to enhance the overall flavor profile. Season mashed and baked potatoes, grilled meat, tacos, lasagna, chicken salad, cottage cheese, deviled eggs, pizza, and more.

The possibilities are endless! You can even combine the green onion powder with other herbs and spices to create your own customized blends and rubs.

Green onion powder in a bowl with a jar
Label and date the finished onion powder and add to your homegrown herb and spice collection. I love the label pictured here from Canning Crafts. They have lots of hand designed options to label your canned goods and spice blends.

Growing Your Own Onions

It doesn’t get any better than crafting a homemade seasoning using what you’ve grown right outside your back door. If you’re inspired to grow your own onions, they can be grown from seeds, young transplants, or sets. 

Directly sowing onion seeds in the ground or starting the seeds indoors under grow lights are both viable options.

Transplants can also be purchased online or at local garden centers, and that’s how I grew my candy yellow onions last year – with transplants I got from a local farm.

But many folks prefer using onion sets which are baby bulbs that started growing the previous year. Onion sets are a popular choice among home gardeners since they are readily available in the spring.

Onion seedlings
Onions are easy to grow from seed and are a staple in my garden and kitchen.

Pick the Perfect Onion Type for Your Area

The timing of planting onions depends on your region. Onions focus on growing their leaves in cooler months, then switch to making bulbs when it gets warmer.

In cooler environments with cold winters, it’s best to plant onions in the spring for a summer harvest. In warmer regions, planting onions in the fall for a spring harvest is recommended.

There are three main types of onions: short-day, long-day, and day-neutral. The type you choose should be based on the number of daylight hours in your region. Short-day onions are suitable for southern regions, long-day onions thrive in northern regions, and day-neutral onions can grow successfully in any location.

Onion bulb in the ground
The shoulders of a candy yellow onion bulb emerging from the soil.

Preserve What You Grow

Onions are such an easy and near-effortless crop for the home garden, but not everyone thinks of using or preserving the green foliage and scapes.  

Crafting your own homemade onion powder using what you’ve grown in your backyard is not only rewarding but also minimizes waste since you’re utilizing and preserving every part of the onion.

So, the next time you grow onions in your garden, remember to make the most of every part of this versatile vegetable.

green onion powder in a jar

2 Responses

  1. I love this Amy! I followed your step-by-step instructions and made a nice batch! My labels are not quite as nice as yours but i’m working on those. I have moved onto oregano now – both crushed and powdered. Next I’ll be tackling Thyme and Lemon Sage. So much fun! Have you worked with Calendula? I have so many now for pollinators that I am eager to try to make Calendula tea and salves.

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! I am so glad that worked out for you! And it sounds like you are on your way to creating a great home spice collection. I have grown and dried calendula blossoms and it’s on my list to make salves. I have tried it mixed with other herbs for tea. 🙂

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Cultivating Nature's Wisdom

I’m a nature photographer and gardener sharing how I created an ecological garden in a small suburban backyard. I also share a few tips for growing and using herbs to craft your own homegrown spice blends.

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