Best shallot variety?

elisa_z5February 1, 2013

Late last winter I asked what folks still had in fresh storage, and shallots were an item I had never considered before, but because several people had them last through the whole winter, I decided I'd like to try them.

So, you buy them one year and then just use your own stock, like garlic, right? I figure I'd better choose well!

I've got three catalogs I'm ordering from (below). Any recommendations on what to choose? I think that fairly strong flavor, largeness (so you don't have to peel so many of them) and long storage would be the best for me. Oh, and I'm at 39 latitude, so not the real northern varieties.

I could order from somewhere else, if there is a variety that's just SO good it's what I should get I don't mind paying the extra postage. THanks, in advance, for any advice!

Fedco: Yellow Moon Dutch Shallots, Picasso Shallots
VT Bean Seed Co: Extra Select Premium Grade Shallots, Holland Red
Johnny's: Pikant (they have other varietites, but for 40-55 latitude)

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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

some are grown from seed, and you have to keep buying the seed each year. not sure if you know that. I didn't and bought some from the store to regrow. they didnt do much.

i grew red dutch and yellow dutch. with good results.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:54AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In your zone and latitude you might be able to get away with spring planting but for us they are planted in the fall and early winter.

And if storage is your goal you'll want to be sure to plant one of long-storage varieties. Just as with other members of the onion family, not all will store well. So we plant Conservor and/or Yellow Saffron.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You might also what to check out the Alliums forum here as there are many discussions there about shallots. I linked some of the discussions below.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: shallots discussions - Allium Forum

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:41PM
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elisa_z5

Thanks, veggiecanner,
And thanks Dave -- excellent links! Everything I ever wanted to know about shallots :) (I had forgotten about the Allium thread)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:02PM
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glib(5.5)

Multiplier onions are shallots really. The advantages are that they are hardy, easy to grow (same culture as garlic), taste good, store well and you will never have to buy seed again. The disadvantage is that they are a bit difficult to peel.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:42PM
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ashleyzone6b

I've just started Conservor shallots from seed today. I grew them two years ago with good success, even considering the less-than-ideal soil they were in. I didn't get giant bulbs, but larger than Pikant which I grew 3 years ago.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:47PM
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elisa_z5

Ashley, that is hugely helpful information. I was almost ready to order Pikant, because the little blurb says they are "big" -- but I just googled conservor and they sound great. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:18PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I am growing the shallots from seed now since they are bigger than all the bulb grown varieties I have tried. It is important to have a source of fresh shallot seed.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:57PM
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planatus(6)

I have grown at least four of the newer seed-sown shallots, and so far Saffron (pictured) has done the best for me. I'm giving Prisma a second try because last year wasn't a fair trial due to a badly timed hail storm.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:14AM
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elisa_z5

chervil2 -- what type are you growing from seed? Big sounds v. good.

planatus -- those Saffrons are beautiful!

I've got seeds sown from a farmer in Maine -- I kept asking her for bulbs to plant and she kept saying "just grow them from seed -- they'll do better"

But no sprouting yet. Don't know if the seeds are viable . . .

I planted them Feb 1st and they're in a window -- should I have them in the dark?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:52AM
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cybrczch(5)

Zone 5 southern Nebraska. Have grown Ambition (Johnny's) but they discontinued for Conservator this year. Ambition did great for me, if I had given them more attention they'd have done even better. Bought Picador seed last year, stored in the freezer and trying them this year, but already looks like germination is less than 2 year old Ambition seed was last year. I did plant some Ambition bulbs and even though they bolted, still got huge side bulbs off of them. I'm hoping I'll have some small ones left to plant this year.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:22PM
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landscraper82(4a - ND)

Elisa....maybe not in the dark, just probably away from the window for now. The window area tends to be fairly chilly this time of year, at least here, and that may be what is slowing your germination.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:44AM
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