What Is The Difference Between Leeks, Onions And Spring Onions?

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Is there a difference between leeks and leeks? And are onions and shallots the same thing? We answer your questions about the different onion plants.

The large family of onion plants ( Allioideae ), also called leek plants, can be a bit confusing. If several dozen synonyms for the same onion come into play, you quickly lose track of everything. With a few simple tricks, however, onions, leeks, etc. can be easily distinguished from one another.

1. Are leeks and leeks the same?

With leek or leek ( Allium porrum ) the same plant is meant. For a long time, only the term “leek” was used in German-speaking countries. Only in German-speaking Switzerland and in parts of Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and the Saarland has the term “leek” been used. Since the 1970s, however, the name “leek” has been gaining increasing popularity throughout the German-speaking area, and both names are used in retail today.

What is the difference between leeks, leeks, onions & spring onions?

2. What is the difference between leeks and onions?

Although both belong to the Allioideae family, it is easy to distinguish between leeks and onions (Allium cepa). Whether you say leek or leek at home, what you mean is a vegetable similar to spring onion that does not form a thickened onion, but has characteristic flat and long leaves. They are white at the bottom and dark green towards the top.

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Onions are the only leeks that form an underground storage tuber. These and all known onions are white and have brown skin. The leaves are tubular and also green. While we mainly consume the subterranean part of the onion, the entire plant is used for the leek.

Differences between leek and onion:

leek onion
Not a thickened onion Typical thickened onion
Stores energy in the leaves Underground storage organ
Flattened leaves Tubular leaves
The whole plant is used in the kitchen Usually, only the onion is used

3. Is there a difference between onions and spring onions?

The spring onion ( Allium fistulosum ) and the normal onion are two different plants. The rumor persists that spring onions are simply kitchen onions that are harvested too early, but that is not true. The spring onion also called spring onion or winter onion is unable to form a rounded, thickened onion. It only has a cylindrically thickened shaft. In the case of the spring onion, the entire plant can also be consumed.

Typical characteristics of spring onions:

  • Thinner and smaller than onions
  • Mild taste
  • Not around, thickened onion, but a cylindrically thickened shaft

What is the difference between leeks, leeks, onions & spring onions?

4. What is the difference between onions and shallots?

Another well-known member of the leek family is the shallot ( Allium cepa var. Aggregatum ). Shallots are very similar to the onion and do not form a separate species in the leek family. The plant, which originates from Asia, is characterized by a milder taste than the normal onion. Other distinguishing features of the shallot are their pink skin, their typical elongated shape, and the fact that these onions often grow as twins.

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How do I distinguish shallots from onions? Characteristics of shallots:

  • Mild taste than onions
  • Pink bowl
  • Longer shape
  • Often in two parts

What is the difference between leeks, leeks, onions & spring onions?

When talking about the onion family, there is of course one thing that should not be missing: garlic ( Allium sativum ). You can read all about the aromatic plant in our expert article on garlic.

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