We’ve had three days of solid, wall-to-wall sunshine. Which means a few things. Firstly, that my Tomatoes are ripening (more on that later) and secondly that I can start to think about lifting my Shallots and Onions. First to go are the Shallots. I planted my own saved bulbs this year and what a success they’ve been? They’re the variety Longor (which tend to be more long, missile-shaped than squat) and they’ve grown even bigger than last year!
I dug them up yesterday, making sure to tease them out gently with a fork and lightly rub most of the dirt off. Then I put them in this old sieve in the sunshine to dry. The sieve is great because it keeps them off the ground and lets the air circulate around them. Once they’re nice and papery, I’ll pack them in my wicker Onion basket and store them in my cool, dry outhouse.
I find that I have more use for Shallots than huge Onions. As there is only the three of us there aren’t many recipes that require a whole massive Onion. And Shallots definitely have a milder taste than Onions, which means they’re great for little fussy tastbuds!
Can anyone recommend some different varieties. I feel like growing some red Shallots (as well as white) next year!
I’m afraid I can’t remember what variety our shallots are but I’m hugely impressed. We have LOADS. I was surprised how strong they were – streaming eyes from chopping three.
I think shallots are a great thing to grow, for the same reasons as you really, small quantities, mild flavour and I think their leaves look great in the garden too.
I grew Longor aswell this year and really like the size, shape and flavour of them. Also growing Pikant, which are as you would expect, strong in flavour, but quite small and rounder. I grew a red last year but can’t remember their name. I tend to put some in pots and as long as they don’t get too wet they do quite well. I have about half of mine drying in the sunshine now…
Your shallots are beautiful! What a wonderful harvest. And thanks for the reminder that for some idiotic reason, I haven’t grown shallots in years. Must remedy that next spring! :)
Ooh please can we have a picture of your onion basket. I was going to plait mine, but they are already too dry, and they will end up being stuffed rather un-glamourously into old tights. I think they deserve better than that!
After growing loads of onions which went soggy in the rain last year I decided to stick to shallots this season as they seemed to survive the wet weather. I agree that they are handier – and if the recipe requires a large onion, I just use two or three shallots. (I also think they’re easier to store, as I can hang them around the place in small nets – I save the ones which come with citrus fruits from the supermarket). I’m especially pleased with ‘Red Sun’ – and will certainly grow this red shallot again.
Congrats on the successful harvest! I agree, shallots aree often more useful than the large onions. And they are less overpowering, so can be used in more combinations. Are they hard to grow?
Mine are a red variety but don’t know which, will find out at the weekend. I too left mine out to dry in the sunshine this weekend, and they were doing splendid. Fast forward to later Friday night: the only thoughts I had when I heard the rain against the windows was ‘there goes my plans to gaze at Jupiter & Venus tonight’ (the beaming ‘star’ to the right of the moon of late is Jupiter, and around 4am is a great time to see Venus – brightest object in the sky, look south).
Next morning I had some very very wet shallots… I grow them in preference to onions, and love their versatility. And the fact that from one little shallot you get half a dozen…(rather than one little onion growing into one big onion).
This weekend we enjoyed the annual harvest lunch with our neighbours. Between us we came up with over 30 homegrown ingredients to use in our feast. [It was a little odd to be eating mashed swede in summer, but I did resist the urge to pull a parsnip!]
For any stargazers among you with access to light pollution-free skies, Wednesday night is a good night for meteor (shooting star) spotting as the Perseids will be at their peak.
I had lots of luck this year with Longue de Bretange from Seeds of Italy (http://www.seedsofitaly.com/product/866): heavy cropping and very reliable.
Less luck with attempting to plait them though (http://thedroolingvegetable.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/the-lady-of-shallot/) – might follow you and go for the shed option next year. :-(
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