Shallots, which are botanically named Allium ascalonicum after Ascalon (or Ashkelon) a town in South Palestine, were believed to have been brought to the U.S. by De Soto during his Louisiana explorations.

Personally speaking shallots are my favorite allium though in truth I like them all. They are much more mild than the typical onion or garlic and add an amazing sweet onion flavor to almost any dish.

Shallots are cool season perennials that grow well in our northern clay soil. If you plant an individual clove in early spring by the middle of summer you will have a nice robust cluster of five or more bulbs. Similar to onions you can tell that they are ready for harvest when their green stem falls over and begins to die. Just like your onion patch you want to make sure they have an opportunity to dry before storage. If stored properly, which for our family is simply putting them in a hanging wire basket in the kitchen, they will last well into the winter months. Believe me when I say you have not had a stew until you placed entire shallot bulbs in it to simmer all day.

Shallots contain more antioxidants and vitamins than their cousin the onion and we all know how healthy onions are. In particular they are higher in vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also a good source of minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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