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Old February 16, 2010   #1
Ruth_10
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Default best shallot varieties

I was browsing one of the catalogs today and the shallots caught my eye. Many people rave about them in cooking. I've never grown any and haven't a clue about the best varieties or tricks of growing them.

Any thoughts?

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Old February 16, 2010   #2
mjc
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Growing them is pretty similar to growing onions...

Just about any variety is good. Some of the new hybrid/seed producing varieties are not quite as 'flavorful' as the bulb grown/clonal ones...but they aren't 'bad'. Prisma would be a good one to try.

The nice thing about shallots, even the hybrid ones, is once you get some going you can save some to plant the next season...from the bulbs.
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Old February 18, 2010   #3
salix
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Ruth, last year I grew a hybrid "Ambition" (round shaped)- they are HUGE! Very nice, good taste and are keeping very well. They grew as well as regular onions, had no disease or pest issues at all. This year I am trying a torpedo-shaped variety, again a hybrid, which is supposedly very tasty. I spent some time looking for an open-pollinated variety, but no luck so far.
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Old February 18, 2010   #4
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Default How Huge?

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Originally Posted by salix View Post
Ruth, last year I grew a hybrid "Ambition" (round shaped)- they are HUGE! Very nice, good taste and are keeping very well. They grew as well as regular onions, had no disease or pest issues at all. This year I am trying a torpedo-shaped variety, again a hybrid, which is supposedly very tasty. I spent some time looking for an open-pollinated variety, but no luck so far.
Ruth, I am curious about "Ambition's" size. I grew shallots (can't remeber the variety) several years in a row a while back but was unable to get any bulbs lager than a clove of garlic. It may have been that in my climate (Georgia) I should have started them in the Fall rather than Spring. I finally gave up, since it took a lot of effort peeling enough of them to cook with. I saw Ambition advertised but couldn't tell how large of a bulb it produced.
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Old February 18, 2010   #5
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Salix.... Sorry that I addressed my previous post to Ruth...my first time posting here. I meant it for you.
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Old February 19, 2010   #6
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Riceke - sorry to get back to you so late at night. I believe that "Ambition" was described as approx. 2 inches in the catalogue; however most of mine were at least 3" or more (my husband still can't distinguish them from smallish onions). They also only seemed to split into 2 or 3 individual shallots per bulb (I don't think my terminology is quite right) and are very easy to peel, slice or dice or any other prep for cooking. Will be growing it again this year, along with a torpedo shaped hybrid named "Banana". Am still trying to locate an open pollinated variety - for some reason alliums from seed do much better up here (at least in my garden) than sets - my theory is that sets are all set to produce seed instead of bulking up to furnish my storage room.
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Old February 19, 2010   #7
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Thanks salix for the response...I'll give Ambition a try. Do you remember where you got the seed? No problem if you don't I can google it.
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Old February 19, 2010   #8
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"French Gray" (a generic term?) is said to be the best.

I've never seen 'em, let alone tasted 'em.

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Old February 20, 2010   #9
Ruth_10
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Thanks, all. Your responses give me a place to start. Salix, I just now found a few shallots listed in the SSE yearbook. They don't have their own section, even within the onion section.
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Old February 21, 2010   #10
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We grow two types of shallots. Ambition for cooking, then a smaller variety of a purple type for making pickled onions, English style.
The Ambition we start from seed, about now, and the purple we plant in the fall to winter over.
The Ambition are the best for storage, must try planting established bulbs to see what they do.
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Old February 21, 2010   #11
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Ok a little off topic here, but excuse the garden humor, I don't beans about shallots except they are sort of onions in garlic form. How do you use them in cooking? Does anyone have a great recipe using them. I have never grown them but planted about 20 bulbs today. Thanks
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Old February 21, 2010   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kygreg View Post
Ok a little off topic here, but excuse the garden humor, I don't beans about shallots except they are sort of onions in garlic form. How do you use them in cooking? Does anyone have a great recipe using them. I have never grown them but planted about 20 bulbs today. Thanks
Use them in place of Onions,. They're not so harsh, slightly sweeter.
Peeled and stored in Malt vinegar for a few months, they are delightful with crusty bread and a good strong cheese.
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Old February 21, 2010   #13
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Thanks beeman. Will try that.
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Old October 23, 2010   #14
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This is pretty late but, IMO, one of the best things you can do with shallots is slice them thin then deep fry till golden brown. Toss them on top of cooked spinach or on top of some Pad Tai, ect. ect.
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