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Porthos

Shallots

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The supermarket where I buy most of my produce has shallots that seems much larger than what I have purchased in the past, and I took a pass on them. To me they are huge. Makes me wonder what is typical. Thoughts?

 

20170717_Shallots.jpg.b7fbe6ac1cfe80be411108fbdd852682.jpg

This is a shallot next to cherry tomatoes.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I have noticed that the shallots I buy at Costco are much bigger than those in other places.  The Costco shallots are made up of two "bulbs" for lack of a better term while the supermarket ones are small round ones consisting of a single bulb.  I too have wondered what the difference is.

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I suspect part of the deal right now is freshness. As they get older, all of the alliums start to dry out, leaving papery skin on the outside. (and sometimes moldy/mushy decaying layers) Employees in supermarket produce departments spend time peeling down the onions and shallots to make them look good. But, a couple of layers of papery skin used to be a couple of plump layers of juicy flesh, so, the produce keeps shrinking as it dries gets peeled. 

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My current batch of supermarket shallots appear to be the same size as those of Portho's.  There's a a single bulb.  The Costco ones are a double bulb.  To me, they both taste the same.  

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Not sure how to describe the ones I sometimes buy at a local Mennonite store.  They resemble an untidy head of garlic.   You separate each shallot from the head just like you would a clove of garlic.  Size wise, each "clove" is probably two inches long.  They are always plump and locally grown I suspect.  And, here's the best part. at times they are cheaper than plain old onions.  This is the same store that recently sold kilo sized boxes of Ile de France brie for ..99 cents.  Yup. really kilo boxes...honest. 

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I grow shallots every year. They are huge - much bigger than the ones I see in supermarkets. Also with a stronger flavor. Usually there are 2 or 3 lobes to a plant. I usually grow from started seedlings. This year I couldn't find any in local nurseries so I am growing from sets - I'm not sure how big these will be. 


Edited by ElainaA (log)
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But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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Now I'm upset.

 

I use shallots a lot. I use a lot of shallots.

 

One of my pet hates is recipes which say things like "half a red onion". Red onions vary enormously in size. Half of one can be larger than all of another. And the remaining half an onion seems never to get used.

 

So, I have almost given up on onions and use shallots instead. But they have all been approximately the same size. Now you tell me there are rogue, mutant shallots about to ruin my life!

 

shallots.thumb.jpg.b68063848ffe80fa357175f4efd7d092.jpg

A selection from my shalottery.

 

The ones I buy are approximately 3cm in diameter at the widest. What size are these extraterrestrial shallots you are finding?

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45 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Now I'm upset.

 

I use shallots a lot. I use a lot of 

The ones I buy are approximately 3cm in diameter at the widest. What size are these extraterrestrial shallots you are finding?

 

I didn't buy any but I would guess 4 maybe  4.5 cm.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I buy banana shallots when I can find them.

Click

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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"Shallot" is a very general term, they can vary a lot in size, color, flavor, etc.

Some insist that the French grey shallot is the only 'true' shallot.

The Shallot Wars

French claim Dutch flooding market with 'fake shallots' that are actually common onions

 

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~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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7 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

"Shallot" is a very general term, they can vary a lot in size, color, flavor, etc.

Some insist that the French grey shallot is the only 'true' shallot.

The Shallot Wars

French claim Dutch flooding market with 'fake shallots' that are actually common onions

 

 Well thank you if nothing else that expanded my vocabulary!  Coriaceous!   Leather like. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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...though I do note that, downthread, that poster says he's never grown potato onions and doesn't know what they taste like. It could be argued that this somewhat undercuts his credibility on the topic. :P

 

Personally I have no axe to grind. If it looks like a shallot and tastes like a shallot, I'm okay with it being called a shallot.  


Fat=flavor

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23 minutes ago, chromedome said:

...though I do note that, downthread, that poster says he's never grown potato onions and doesn't know what they taste like. It could be argued that this somewhat undercuts his credibility on the topic. :P

 

Oxbowfarm posted the comment I quoted.
It was Ferdzy who posted "I have never grown potato onions, so I don't know what they taste like."


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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You're right, my bad. Ferdzy's previous comment was the one above that. Obviously the blood level is still too high in my caffeine system. 

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Fat=flavor

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17 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

We get either the piddling little shallots or the really huge great big ones - I love the big ones - much less work!

Yes. This.

I was annoyed with the small shallot cloves...so much work for so little shallot. Then I shopped in a different grocery store and found they had rather large shallots. I've never purchased the small ones since.


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

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You all have given me reasons enough to give them a try. Thanks.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I grow shallots. There are several varieties.  The best French red shallots can be quite large. It depends on how many "scions" develop around the "mother" - fewer scions, the larger, more scions = smaller ones.  Most are double lobed, some are triple or quad.

The Dutch yellow shallots are often small - walnut sized - but you get many more "scions" growing around the "mother" - I have found as many as a dozen small round ones surrounding the mother.  Many are singletons, a few are doubles.  

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

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I used to be able to pick up mesh bags of shallots at the Asian grocer for a very reasonable price. Since they went out of business, I make do with onions. The mainstream grocers want too much money for their shallots. I found reasonably priced ginger again at Patel Brothers, the Indian grocer. I should look around for shallots there next time if I can remember amongst all the distractions of never before seen amazing ingredients. Patel Brothers is to me like Disneyland is to a kid. Bonus, lots of stuff is cheaper than the other grocers too.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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On 7/17/2017 at 8:07 PM, liuzhou said:

One of my pet hates is recipes which say things like "half a red onion". Red onions vary enormously in size. Half of one can be larger than all of another. And the remaining half an onion seems never to get used.

 

I am so glad I am not alone in this gripe. Usually whatever batch is at any given grocery store will be uniform at least, but every time I go in looking for red onions I wonder what size I will be met with that day, because the range seems to span the size of a small white onion on up to say a toddler's head. If the onions are particularly large or small I usually just figure about 8oz for an average one and so trim down or add more as I need to get in the ballpark.

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In forty and more years of cooking, I look at recipes more as guides than prescriptions, and usually do very well with using them just as a guideline. Whole peeled onions keep in the fridge very well for a couple weeks, even. You need to put them in an impervious container so they don't stink up your butter and other stuff. I find recycled and washed dairy containers like sour cream, cottage cheese, or large yogurt containers work well for this purpose. They are very well designed to keep odors out but also work well to keep them in. I never waste onions anymore, and I usually buy huge ones where I can pick the well-cured, non-moldy ones that have a higher yield than the slightly cheaper, but not in the long run, bags of smaller ones. I think I come out ahead. I never waste onions anymore or put too many in a dish for good taste just to keep from wasting them. There's also this adorable dedicated onion saver, but my solution is free if you buy tubbed dairy products.

 

After a while, I've gotten pretty good at chopping or slicing just enough onion in a ratio that I will find pleasing in proportion to other ingredients. Occasionally, I will dice a little too much on the cutting board, but I have no qualms about letting the garbage disposal eat my mistake. This happens more often with salsa, pico de gallo or guacamole than anything else, because onions vary in sharpness and I add to taste without the washing in water trick, because I like a little sharpness.


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Due to their mild flavor, I sometimes like to caramelize the shallots and toss them into whatever dish I'm making. They've even lifted my lowly tuna casserole to a higher level which is saying something.;)

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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

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11 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

...  but my solution is free if you buy tubbed dairy products.

 

I like it.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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