Author Topic: Supermarket Shallots  (Read 539 times)

Jokerman

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Supermarket Shallots
« on: April 17, 2017, 21:18:51 »
Hi all, I was in Lidl today and they were selling packs of shallots for 29p, so I grabbed a couple with a view to planting them up the lotty and hoping they would split and give me a nice crop for a lot cheaper than the usual suppliers.

They were: Oaklands Echalion Shallots (from France)

I decided to have a quick Google to see if I should was worth my while and a number of posts say that they are unlikely to grow as they may have been treated with a 'growth inhibitor'... I didn't even realise there was such a thing....

Has anyone else been as much of a skinflint as me? And what was the result? Is it worth my time or should I just eat them and not bother planting? They'd look so big and fat that I would love to grow them.

Thanks. :)
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Beersmith

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 21:41:35 »
Yes, I tried this a few seasons back thinking exactly as you have that it might save a lot on expensive sets.

But it failed. The shallots sat in the ground and obstinately refused to grow while my onion sets and other non supermarket shallots were all bursting upwards with strong green shoots. In the end I dug them up.

Of course there is a chance the ones you have purchased may be untreated. They do it apparently to stop them putting out green shoots while in store and so becoming unsaleable. It may vary from one supermarket to another. Mine did not come from Lidl, as there was not a Lidl store in my area back then although one has opened since then.

Is it worth doing a test with just a couple? If you found a supermarket whose shallots were not treated you would be a hero in these parts.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 21:48:14 by Beersmith »
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Jokerman

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 21:48:22 »
Yeh, I think I will just put in half a dozen inbetween my beetroots and hope for the best. Got about 60 so I better look for some recipes to use the rest. :)
There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

galina

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 03:25:21 »
Yeh, I think I will just put in half a dozen inbetween my beetroots and hope for the best. Got about 60 so I better look for some recipes to use the rest. :)

If you wash them very well and peel the outer layer/s off, they should sprout much better.  I have got them to sprout.  The problem is that these are shallots that are traditionally grown from seed, rather than from multiplying bulbs.  I found that I did not get many splitting off.  One of my shallot projects that were abandoned.   Had I replanted the few bulbs I got, they should have grown normally and I should have left them to grow to seed.  Instead we ate the few split offs  :BangHead:

In short, it doesn't mean there is not a potentially worthwhile project there Jokerman, but you are looking at a meaningful harvest in two year's time, not this year.   :wave:

ed dibbles

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 07:19:11 »
I have been luckier in that I bought two bags of shallots that were reduced to 10p each bag from asda a few years back. These are true shallots not banana shallots that are onions in fact.

They grew very well and have been the best shallots I have ever grown saving some for planting. They are obviously F1 hybrids because of the large size and  uniform crop produced.

So even if you get a couple to grow and they are ok you can build up your stock from there. :happy7:

Plot 18

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 09:18:31 »
Yes, it does depend on whether you picked up true shallots or banana shallots? Round ones are more likely to be true shallots, I think.

Most of the long shallots sold in the shops are really shallot-shaped onions grown from seed in the Netherlands.


Tee Gee

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 14:27:03 »
Why not try a few in cell trays to see if they are viable, then if they produce top growth then these can be planted out in the bed.

I have used a few of the shallots that did not develop last year in this manner and they look promising as you can possibly see in the attached picture.

(That's them between the yellow tray and the root trainers with broad beans in)

I am planning planting out the 15 setts that have produced decent tops tomorrow.




ancellsfarmer

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 19:37:13 »
Quote from: Beersmith on March 05, 2017, 22:21:57

    Good advice from plot 18. I would risk it, although not every gamble pays off.

    My biggest failed gamble was with shallots. Got some superb banana shallots down the supermarket, quite cheap too. Set them out at the same time as my other shallots, thinking I had saved a lot of money. About eight weeks later all the others were rooted and with strong green shoots. The supermarket ones simply sat there doing nothing. Two weeks later still nothing so I dug them up.

    Research on line suggests they get treated with some type of inhibitor to avoid any root or top growth on the supermarket shelves as this would look unsightly and reduce sales. I felt a bit foolish but you cannot win them all. And lesson learned.

    You will have an advantage in seeing how germination goes before planting out.



Yes that is true, but , in my experience, if you soak them in rain water, they will swell and shed the outer skin. They then behave like shallots. The ones I have bought, from both T**sco ,and M**ris*ons# , are round shallots, produced by a grower called Brown , in Lincolnshire and cost this year# 99p for 300gm. 21 shallots about 30mm diameter. Previous 2 years ,most have produced7-8 shallots each, with only a couple gone to seed."



Update:
All have got away well and yesterday it was obvious that they are now swelling and splitting to yield the crop. I would have tried to upload a photo but time prevented.
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

Beersmith

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 08:51:50 »
I am always pleased and astonished by the helpful advice and expertise shown by contributors. Always something new and helpful to learn.

Cheers

Beersmith
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sunloving

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2017, 16:37:52 »
I planted some a month ago from lidl in trays in the poly one out of 12 has grown the others are sulking still. Might wash them and see if that changes anything. Good luck with yours.

squeezyjohn

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2017, 19:22:30 »
You really can't do this with the long thin banana shallots and expect a cluster to form because they are not true shallots, rather a kind of mild elongated onion.  The best you can hope for is that they will get a bit bigger and then go to flower - because that's what onions do in their second year.  Supermarkets rarely stock true "multiplying onion" type shallots. 

If you're looking to grow these banana shallots cheaply then I suggest you grow them from seed.  It's a bit late, but you'll probably still get a crop.  The cheapest I can find is from real seeds at 2.19 for 300 seeds but other seed merchants sell them too.  I've had great success starting these sown thickly in large flower pots and transplanted out once they are about chive size.

Edit to add link http://www.realseeds.co.uk/onions.html
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 19:24:03 by squeezyjohn »

Beersmith

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 21:54:50 »
You really can't do this with the long thin banana shallots and expect a cluster to form because they are not true shallots, rather a kind of mild elongated onion.  The best you can hope for is that they will get a bit bigger and then go to flower - because that's what onions do in their second year.  Supermarkets rarely stock true "multiplying onion" type shallots

I have seen a number of seed suppliers that offer long / banana shallots as sets rather than seed.  Varieties like Longor, Vigarmor, and Jermor among many others. While rather expensive - as much as 3 for 10 sets - they seem to be true multiplying types.

So for me it is a big puzzle to distinguish between long onion types and true shallots.  Is it simply a question of having to research it on a case by case basis?  I'll admit to being perplexed. In the supermarket I'd like to be able to know if I'm getting a true shallot (treated or otherwise) or simply an elongated onion.

I think I may be online a while trying to understand this better.
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squeezyjohn

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2017, 23:18:56 »
Well the ones I grew from seed last year only showed a single core when they were cut open - the supermarket ones do too ... occasionally you get a double that would split in to two when grown on, but I've never seen more than that.  If you cut in to a true multiplying/potato onion/shallot you see lots of different cores that will make the 5-10 new onions the next year.

I've never seen banana shallots sold as sets in my garden centres, but now you mention it they are online.  Maybe there are 2 different types!  Zebrune that I grow is supposed to be specifically selected for growing from seeds.

Vinlander

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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 10:21:31 »
So for me it is a big puzzle to distinguish between long onion types and true shallots.  Is it simply a question of having to research it on a case by case basis?  I'll admit to being perplexed. In the supermarket I'd like to be able to know if I'm getting a true shallot (treated or otherwise) or simply an elongated onion.

Sadly cynicism (aka. reality) gives the answer to this - you will never see real, multiplying long shallots in any shop - maybe, Maybe you could get them from the best and most expensive grocers in town, and if you're very lucky you might get them for a small discount compared to buying Jermor from seedsmen. But they still might be treated.

Long shallots are convenient and nice - even the banana ones from seed, I'd love to know if posh restaurants care about the difference.

As you have pointed out, the true ones are very expensive, and anyone who grows them commercially would be mad to sell them to Trashco when they could get 5x as much by selling the crop to seedmen who will sell them on to enthusiasts like us.

Even ordinary real, multiplying shallots are seldom seen in shops - no farmer will ever make big money on them... By weight, they only increase by what? 500% each year? - and that's in perfect conditions. Banana shallots from seed increase many 1000% by weight (farmers don't pay T&b!@@dyM type prices), and anyway you only need to leave a few in the ground to get a lot more seed than you used last year - obviously a few dozen would produce more reliable seed to found your own landrace, but you can always get more - the cheapest way is to buy new shallots every 5 years or so, & use the methods already discussed to let them sprout & flower.

Cheers.
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Re: Supermarket Shallots
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 10:21:31 »