Wednesday 31 July 2013

Shallots "Longor"

Back in March this year I wrote about planting Shallots, and just the other day I wrote about harvesting Shallots. The very hot dry weather we have had recently has been ideal for getting them dried. They have enjoyed basking in the sunshine for several hours every day, while I have been at work enduring a stuffy classroom and wishing that the aircon was a bit more effective! Some of the places I have to go in the course of my duties leave a LOT to be desired. One place I went last week I had to prop the window open with a whiteboard eraser, because the fastening was broken, and there was no other way of getting any air into the room - certainly no aircon. Why don't employers realise that if they want their staff to be properly trained (and motivated to learn) they need to provide suitable working conditions??

Anyway, the Shallots are dried!  I'm sure most of you will know this, but for the sake of any beginners who may be reading this, drying Shallots "cures" the outer skins and thus preserves them for future use. Once dried, Shallots will keep for months if stored in the right conditions (dry and relatively cool). You need to dry them until the leaves wither completely and fall off. The remaining bulbs will have papery golden-coloured skins. Discard any that feel soft - or use them immediately if they look OK inside and don't small musty.

This is the complete harvest. Not a lot of course, but that is the norm in my plot - small quantity, but big quality!

The total yield amounts to 1.4kg.  I think that about half of these will eventually be pickled in spiced vinegar, but the rest (the bigger ones) will be used as general-purpose culinary shallots. We use quite a few of them in things like French Dressing.

I took lots of photos of the Shallots. To me they are things of beauty! The russety paper-like outer skins barely conceal the rich purple inner layers.

Although my crop has not been huge (the return was about three times what I planted), I have learned a lot about growing Shallots this year. The wider spacing I used this time (25cm) has definitely made a diference. Last year the yield was only twice what I planted, which is a marginal result - almost not worth the effort. Of course the weather may have had an influence too, and that is infinitely variable.

One other thing I learned is that growing Shallots in pots is definitely possible.

When I planted the main crop sets, I had 8 left over (the smallest ones) and I put them into two big flower-pots. Despite the reservations I expressed at the time, they did OK. They were perhaps not quite as good as the ones in the main bed, but certainly worthwhile. If you don't have space in your garden or allotment for growing Shallots, I would therefore say it is worth considering growing some in pots.


  1. Our shallots are still busy growing. WE will have to try the long ones as ours are the boring globe shapes.

    Whiteboard eraser - no interactive whiteboard then?

  2. A beautiful harvest! Last year was our first growing shallots and we loved them. Unfortunately we didn't get any in this year because of our last of a garden in the spring. But they will be back again next year for sure!!

  3. So pretty. I keep thinking I need to try my hand at shallots again. I always hate how much you have to plant versus how much you get though. Maybe I can find some shallots that grow well from seed. But I've heard the ones you plant in the fall taste better.

  4. Your shallots look fabulous. I adore shallots. I grow them every year and I would love to here your french dressing recipe.

  5. Can't wait to see what you do with them. I love shallots on oysters ( I know what face you're pulling). Big love to Jane xx

  6. Great harvest. I'm growing 'Longor' shallots this year for the first time too, though planted them quite late, so they are still in the ground at the minute. Hope mine are as good as yours when I harvest them!

  7. Your shallots look beautiful! I can understand your wanting to take plenty of photos of them!

  8. Excellent work as usual Mark. I'm hoping for some dry weather so I can pull my shallots this weekend. Please be sure to share your pickle recipe!

  9. I am back again. My browser settings blocked me from commenting on the posts...
    The shallots look wonderful. I think I am going to grow it next year. About the name of the purple plant in my garden... it is Ipomena batata.

    1. Ipomea batatas is Sweet Potato! I have never seen one with foliage as dark (and beautiful) as yours.


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