Gray Shallots, Easy or Difficult?

stephenrayJuly 25, 2014

Since Gray Shallots are supposed to be the best tasting, I thought I would try them again. I have good luck growing many kinds of garlic here in Kansas where it can get down to 20 below zero in January. I get big juicy bulbs of garlic but I tried Gray Shallots years ago and the thick leathery skins were very tough to cut off and there was not very much that was left to eat!

Perhaps gray shallots are always tough like that, but I can't imagine many people going to all that work. I harvested them when most leaves were brown. Perhaps I should harvest Gray Shallots in June instead of July. I dig up the garlic in the second week of July when most of the leaves turn brown.

Are there any experts on Gray Shallots? I planted them in the first days of November, well after the first frost but before a hard freeze, while the blue grass is still growing very well.

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I'm certainly not an expert but here on the high plains of Colorado shallots are recommended as a spring planting and then harvest late summer or whenever they are ready.

Looks like this years crop still has about a month to go.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:44PM
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Easy, but never large. It sounds to me like your harvest was about all that can be expected from the little greys.

Compared to the French red or Dutch yellow shallots, the true grey French shallots are much smaller, have tougher skins and are more difficult to handle for less return at cooking time. They are even a species all by themselves, compared to the others which are one form or another of the standard onion species A. cepa.

It is the French cooking elite who claim that the grey shallots are enough superior to other kinds of onions as to be among the highest of gourmet food products. Most of those jokers have prep staff to do the peeling, etc. My palate is apparently not well enough trained to tell the difference between home grown reds and greys; so I don't even mess around with the fuss it takes to prepare the greys for cooking. There is a difference however between the red French and Dutch yellows. I have better response from the red French when spring planted, but I like to eat the Dutch yellows better and the yellows store much, much better; so I can have them year around, and do well for me fall planted along with the garlic and tulips; so I don't mess with the French reds any more either.

The Dutch yellows are really a form of yellow multiplier or potato onion and are not really shallots. BTW there are also a number of white potato or mulitplier onions strains; some of which grow relatively large, and even some reds that are definitely not shallots or so I hear.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:01PM
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gjcore, My family and I are going to hike 12 miles down Pikes Peak in about one week after we ride up on the cog railroad. I suspect your summers are a little cooler than ours here near Kansas City. And maybe I should try some spring plantings. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:01PM
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OldDutch, Thanks for confirming that the Grays have tough skins. I guess my harvest wasn't so bad after all. I will give them one more try next year. Because of your words I will also get some reds and yellows too. Our local grocer had a nice bin of shallots at $4.99 per pound and I bought one to plant. They were keeping them cool. It has red-purple-brown skin and is about 3 inches tall. I have no idea what kind it is. Should I keep it dry and room temperature until October or May or should I plant it now? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:12PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I grew a few gray shallots last fall and forgot about them.
When I remembered the tops completely disappeared, but
they were okay. I have never grown shallots before and I
have not tried these gray ones yet. They have been curing
in my sunroom for 4 weeks. I will replant the bigger ones
in the fall.

I think I will also order the Dutch Yellow. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 4:32PM
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