How to grow shallots

Your simple guide on how to grow and harvest shallots, plus three great recipes for using them in your kitchen.

How to grow shallots

Expensive to buy, but almost foolproof to grow, shallots have a crisp texture and distinct flavour. The long slender types are particularly flavourful.

Growing
Buy a bag of shallot ‘sets’ (the look just like the bulbs you eat, but will be free from disease and suitable for growing in the UK). Rake over a bed, make a slit with a trowel and push in a ‘set’ so that its tip just protrudes. Space them in a block about 20cm apart each way. Soon each will start to sprout from the top, and will go on to divide into a clump of up to a dozen shallots. All you need to do is remove the weeds from between the clumps, and water them in dry weather. Varieties to try include Hative de Niort and Pesandor.

Harvest
You can harvest them as soon as they are large enough, and use them fresh together with their green stems. However, for the traditional shallot bulbs, wait until their tops have died down, lift them with a fork and leave them in the sun to dry.

How to eat them
Not only to be used as an onion replacement – shallots are great for sauces, soups, pastas, salads and much, much more. We’ve selected three recipes for something a little more inspiring…

Honey-glazed shallot flatbreads

Shallot, bacon and thyme tatin

Shallot and chicory rotolo with hazelnuts

Find more shallot recipes here.

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