QUESTION: What happens if you plant a shallot? Can I plant the ones from the grocery store?
ANSWER: You can start your own shallot crop just by planting a few shallots that you picked up at the grocery store or grew in your garden. It’s actually quite easy to do. Just follow these steps to plant, grow, and harvest shallots from simply burying a shallot in the soil.
First, when picking out shallots at the grocery store for planting, select only heavy, firm shallots with dry skins. Avoid shallots with sunken spots or soft spots. Double check to make sure you are buying true French shallots and not multiplier onions, which look similar to shallots, but taste nothing like them. Once you get your shallots home from the store, if the clusters were not already separated for you, pull them apart so that you have nothing but individual bulbs.
Then, prepare the soil by spreading three inches of compost over the garden beds, digging it around eight inches deep into the soil using a shovel. In the early spring, as soon as the soil becomes soft enough to work, plant your shallots 2 inches deep with the pointed end facing upwards. Space your shallots out six inches apart and water frequently, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Keep an eye out for weeds and pull up any that you see by hand. Shallots won’t compete with weeds for nutrients and water very well and shallot plants that have to square off against weeds, will have a significant reduction in overall yield.
When the leaves have died back in the fall, harvest your shallots. Dig them up, and brush the soil off of them by hand. Avoid the urge to wash the shallots, as your main objective after harvesting them is to allow them to dry out, or cure. After they have dried out for a couple of days, store them in mesh bags or baskets with good air circulation, preferably in a cool, dry, dark location. Alternatively, you can refrigerate them to extend their shelf life, or for long term storage, you can freeze them. There is no need to blanch before freezing. Just peel them, chop them, and put them in freezer bags or airtight containers and they are ready for the freezer.