Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Grew Shallots!

and you can too!

So here is the down-low on the shallots. I understand they are in the onion family and are slow to grow and taste like a cross between a garlic and an onion and are fairly pricey at the grocery store. WHY is now the mystery.

I planted 6 shallot bulbs back in September, I think. Definitely in the fall and before it got cool. So September sounds about right. And they immediately started growing and dividing. I used the green leaves in salads instead of buying green pencil (scallions) at the store. In fact I bought seeds for those and planted them and am still eating on them.

(back to shallots) We watched them grow and as I didn't know anything more about them other the info above, I thought "look! they divided!. Let's dig it up and see the shallots!" and I did and they looked JUST like scallions! Well, that left me scratching my head, "huh?"

So I divided those out and replanted each onion (and they have NOT divided. They have merely grown, period.) We continued to eat the greens all winter and I cooked with them. They grew "hotter" as in spicy as they grew older and in the EARLY spring, they went to seed. They grew those large "sun" flowers I wrote about..... the bees loved them as much as I. However, when I tried to chop that stalk up to cook with, I found it to be woody and hard to chew so I worried that I had left them too long and ruined the whole crop. Oh well, the flowers were beautiful and the bees loved them. And I continued to use the leaves chopped up in salad until they eventually disappeared. (did I eat them ALL? hmmmmm that just occurred to me)

Last week I was ready to give them the old heave ho and dug up one huge bunch and started to break off the seed stalks to make them more manageable. I dug up another huge bunch and slowed down long enough to really look at the root area. What do you think I noticed? Shallots.

Here you can see the "suns" still attached

Just like in the grocery store, except still green and white in color, naturally. (a friend said onions are sold by the pound, shallots by the ounce! That's a pretty good summation!) So I dug all the bunches up and left them out in the sun to dry for the week and took in only that first bunch where the rootball was the only thing attached. This I took inside and cooked many dishes with and liked the result.

Today I see it is forecast to rain now for several days so I have separated the stalks from the suns and taken the shallot-end under the car-cover to dry out further and I have this to show:After drying in the sun for a week

A close-up of the "toe" attached to the stalk

And a whole plate of shallots for cooking

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