Charlene left the following comment on a previous Veggie Gardening Tips Blog entry entitled Growing Shallots in which she inquired into curing shallots harvested from the backyard garden:
“We live in the deep south part of Louisiana. Our shallots are ready for harvest now. You spoke of drying and curing… could you please elaborate? I have an over zealous gardening husband and we are blessed with a very large amount, Thanks!”
Preserving Those Precious Shallot Bulbs
Hi Charlene, I can relate to your husband’s condition especially when it comes to growing shallots and garlic. Be sure to thank your over zealous gardener because fresh shallots are a delicious gourmet treat that you’d pay dearly for at the local market!
Curing shallots is a simple but important process, especially if you plan to store the bulbs or use them as seed stock. Begin by harvesting the mature shallots and lightly brush off any clumps of soil, being careful not to bruise the bulbs or damage the copper colored skins.
Work quickly or harvest the shallots in batches to avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for any length of time. And whatever you do, DON’T wash the shallots. It’s not that water will ruin the shallots, but it would draw out the curing process and open the door for mold and diseases.
Simple Shallot Drying & Curing Procedures
Leave the shriveled leaves and the roots attached at this point. It doesn’t matter whether the cloves remain attached together or are separated into individual pieces during curing. It may make it a little easier to manage by leaving the cloves attached to each other.
Spread the shallots out in a single layer in a dry and shaded location. You can set them up to cure indoors or out, as long as the area is dry and warm, but not hot; you want to cure the bulbs, not bake them. Ideally use containers such as mesh-like plastic trays or screening material that will allow air to circulate all around the bulbs.
Allow the freshly harvested shallots to dry and cure for a week or two and they will be ready for storage. Shallots can be eaten right from the garden without curing, but the curing process will enable the bulbs to keep better in storage and may also help to control the spread of diseases.
Storing Cured Shallot Bulbs
After the curing is complete cut off whatever remains of the dried shallot leaves and trim the roots if desired. Until they are needed in the kitchen you will want to keep the bulbs dry and cool, but do not refrigerate them.
They will keep well under the same conditions that you would store onions or garlic bulbs. Store in shallow ventilated containers or mesh onion bags. Check the shallots periodically to remove any bulbs that are sprouting or have spoiled.
With care you’ll enjoy your own delicious shallots for many months to come. But before you get carried away preparing gourmet meals, set aside enough of the largest and healthiest looking shallot cloves to use as your own seed stock for the next season’s crop.
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: