Onions - Shallots
Considered the gourmet choice, the shallot has a rich onion taste with garlic overtones. Although they’re the smallest variety of onion, they’re definitely the most nutritious!
How do we make sure we provide top quality shallots?
Simple – we grow them ourselves! Sam draws on 3 generations of horticultural experience to grow fresh and full-flavoured shallots. Like brown onions, we harvest when about 10%-20% of the stalks have dropped – that’s nature’s way of telling us that the shallots are sweet enough for harvest. When we pack your box, we make sure the bulb neck of the onion is dry to touch (which is the result of the post-harvest curing process), and the onion skin is firm and smooth (no signs of wrinkling, and no signs of green or black patches). We also make sure the skin around the top of the onion is tightly closed (no signs of sprouting), and the aroma is mild-to-slight (an overly strong aroma suggests the onion is too mature). We apply these criteria meticulously at both the harvest and box-packing stages, meaning we get the satisfaction of growing a top quality product, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ll be supplied with premium shallots, every time.
Where do we source our shallots from?
Our shallots usually come direct from our farm – planted, cultivated and hand-picked by Sam and the team. They grow well in our quick-draining and nutrient rich soils. When conditions aren’t favourable to growing them on our farm (due to seasonality, crop rotation etc) we source shallots from other farmers in areas with similar geographical and climatic conditions (such as from other farms around Bacchus Marsh, or farms around Werribee).
What is the best way to keep shallots?
It’s best to store shallots in a cool, dry, dark, open space. Don’t store them in the fridge, as the high moisture environment will rapidly encourage the ageing process. Make sure you store them in a dark area, because exposure to light turns their flavour bitter. Also, store them away from potatoes – potatoes tend to release moisture over time, which is absorbed by the onion, spoiling their flavour.
Shallot onion nutritional information
The Ancient Egyptians believed that the onion symbolised eternity; Ancient Greek athletes ate onions to lighten their blood; and Roman Gladiators rubbed their skin down with onions to firm up their muscles! Although we can’t guarantee that our shallots will make you live forever, run faster or turn you into a warrior, we do know that shallots are the most phenol rich onions. This means that they have the most effective antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. They are good sources of phytonutrients such as quercetin (a flavonoid with high antioxidant activity), allyl sulfides (compounds linked to lowering blood pressure), and saponins (compounds connected with cholesterol-lowering and tumor inhibition). Shallot onions are also said to help relieve colds, by strengthening the body’s immune system.
Shallot onion serving tips and suggestions
The real reason shallots and other onions make you cry is because cutting an onion releases volatile sulphur compounds, which form a mild sulphuric acid when they make contact with the moisture of your eye. The body produces tears to dilute the irritant and wash it out. The best way to prevent your eyes from watering is to cut the onion under running water, or submerged in a basin of water (these both reduce the volatility of the enzymes, and also reduce its concentration). If that’s not convenient, try putting the onion in the fridge until its cold, which appears to have a sedating effect on the volatile sulphuric compounds. You can also try using your sharpest knife – this will reduce cell damage and therefore the amount of volatile sulphuric acid produced. Another tip is to cut the root of the onion last, because this area has the highest concentration of volatile enzymes. Oh and one final tip, for those missing out on some after-dinner cuddles because of that unfortunate onion breath, the secret is to eat parsley after your meal, unique compounds in parsley neutralise the onion aftertaste!