The shallots are a form of onion that was once classified as a separate species due to how different they can look from the onions we’re used to. They can be used for cooking the same way other types of onions can. Sometimes they are pickled as well, especially in Asian cuisines.
They are grown across the world and in the US since they don’t require too much preparation and can be grown in pretty any kind of soil with the right temperature.
- Onions are one of the oldest vegetables in use
- Cover the knife in lemon juice to avoid tears
- Over 450 truckloads of onions are eaten every day
You can find shallots in pretty much any grocery stores and they are easy to choose since it’s easy to spot when they are fresh. They should be firm and there shouldn’t be any green area at the top. The colors should also be bright and fresh shallots are pink on the outside and white on inside.
Production & Farming in Texas
Shallots aren’t grown commercially in Texas. All the shallots you can find in stores are probably from California. Local farmer’s markets and restaurants that grow their own food however, have locally grown shallots which are made in home gardens. The process for doing so is very similar to that of growing onions.
The planting should be done in spring after the last frost and other than that it’s a rather easy vegetable to work with. It’s easy to plant, first to harvest and it’s prone to least diseases. Shallots can be planted from seeds, bulbs, or transplanted.
There’s no fertilizer needed to grow them and that’s why the grow in ordinary backyard gardens. The only thing to do is to prepare the soil so that the plant can grow beneath. When there’s too much nitrogen in the ground you may end up with lush tops but with small bulbs.
Harvesting should be done once the shallows turn pink. This can be done with an ordinary rake if it’s done in your backyard but it can also be done in automated way and by using the machinery made for that purpose if you’re doing it in a wide scale venture.
The spicy taste of shallows is what protects them from insects which is why there’s no need for too much pesticides to be used on them.
It’s now believed that shallots originated in the Central Asia and that they traveled to India and then to Europe following the rise of early civilizations. From there they have found a place in pretty much every culinary practice across the world, with plenty of local variations obviously.
The name suggests that they were brought to the US by the French, but now they are used across the US, while being grown in only a couple of states on the commercial level at least. It’s easy to produce in terms of climate it requires.
Shallots are packed in the same way as onions. They require relatively low temperature and not too much light to be stored. They can be transported from the fields in simple packaging such as sacks or cardboard boxes. They can be sold by the pound or by the box or sack depending on your preferences and needs.
Sometimes they even have some dirt left on them in order to prove that the vegetable is still fresh.
Shallots are mostly used in the same way as onions. That means that they can be used in salads or fried with other vegetables and meats. In Asian cuisines its popular to pickle the onions and thus preserve them to be used months and years later.
To prepare the shallots themselves for use, you should start with slicing the ends off the shallot (top and tail) and then peel back the skin. After that you can simply separate the bulbs and slice them thinly using an ordinary sharp knife.
Shallots should be stored in dark, cool and well ventilated space. That way they will last for weeks if not months as long as they are kept in that condition. They are therefore mostly stored in pantries. They can also be kept in a fridge and that’s what it’s done when you buy them sliced.
When they are stored like this, their shelf life is much shorter and they can only be kept in a fridge for a couple of weeks.
There are countless recipes with shallots, and they can be used as they are or friend and cooked. It’s best to prepare them with the ingredients that will mitigate the spicy flavor. Here’s one such recipe to try out.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix together the balsamic, oil, honey, thyme and some seasoning. Toss the veg in the dressing and spread out on a large baking tray. Roast for 45 mins until tender and beginning to caramelise. Crumble over the goat’s cheese and parsley to serve.
Compared with common onions, shallots are a more concentrated source of protein, fiber, and micronutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, folate, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C.
What’s more, shallots and other vegetables in the Allium family are packed with powerful antioxidants and organosulfur compounds — all of which are responsible for many of their health benefits.
One of these powerful compounds is allicin. It’s formed when shallots are crushed or cut, which releases their antioxidants.
The organosulfur compounds and antioxidants in shallots are tied to most of their health benefits.
When Are Shallots in Season in Texas?
To find out when Shallots are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.