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Also Known as
Shallots the most common variety of shallots are similar in appearance to baby onions, but are more oval in shape, and often have a pair of smaller bulbs inside the brown skin. The flesh is usually pinker than that of brown skinned onions. The shallot is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion but has a sweeter, milder flavor. They are more expensive than onions. Unlike onions where each plant normally forms a single bulb, shallots form clusters of offsets, rather in the manner of garlic.
How to Select
Shallots can be bought at most supermarkets. In the supermarket, shallots are in the fruit and vegetable section close to garlic or onions. Shallots are packed per 10 to 12 bulbs in a net or bag. Shallots can also be bought loose. Always select firm and fresh shallot. You can tell an old shallot by a yellowy-white or green shoot growing from the head. Avoid packaging containing any rotten shallots.
· They can be used the same way as brown skinned and pickling / baby onions, but, because they have a more subtle flavour, are preferred by those preparing French cuisine.
· Due to its high pungency a raw shallot has a more pronounced taste than an onion. When a shallot is sautéed, the sugars caramelize. This gives the shallots a sweeter taste than an onion.
· Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine.
How to Store
In general, shallots are easy to store with excellent storage properties. Shallots prefer a cool, dry place such as the vegetable drawer of the fridge, the cellar, a shed or utility room. Do not store shallots in a plastic bag; good air circulation is very important. If kept dark and dry, shallots can be stored for many weeks. Peeled, whole shallots can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week.
· Shallots are rich in vitamin A, B, C and E.
· Shallots contain few calories: 50-60 calories per 100 g.
· Regular consumption of shallots will reduce cholesterol levels and improve the blood circulation.
· The very high concentration of flavonoids reduces the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.