Onions and shallots are new to me and I am impressed enough to make space for them next year. I bought shallots (‘Longer’) as sets earlier this year (which just look like small shallots) and they were sent out in Feb/March I think. I planted them in rows between the carrots with about 7/8 sets per row (my beds are 120cm wide) and the tops just poking out, in theory planting onions/garlic/shallots/spring onions with carrots helps keep carrot root fly away but as I net my carrot bed with enviromesh over hoops this isn’t really a problem. I was given some red onion sets by my neighbor so I just put these in a few rows dotted about the raised beds where there was space.
That was it, I did nothing else and last week I had these lovely shallots ready to dig up, I love that each single ‘set’ grows into a cluster of new shallots.
The tops fell/bent over a while ago and I have had them covered and drying out under long cloches (with sides open to give good ventilation) as we have had a lot of rain recently. I decided to make picked shallots with some and the rest have been dug up and put into the greenhouse to continue to dry as I am a little worried they may start to rot of left outdoors. They are a lovely pink colour once peeled and look rather pretty pickled in red wine vinegar (a recipe from The River Cottage Handbook No 2 – Preserves, a book I love).
My husband asked if I was planning to make Onion Marmalade (he is a big fan, the ladies from the WI used to sell it at our local Farmers Market but they don’t have a stall there any more) so I dug up the red onions and used the super fantastic slicing attachment on my Kitchen Aid to slice. Cheating I know but as I had great success finely slicing my orange peel for marmalade using this earlier I knew it would work.
I did have to fish out a few bits that had to be hand sliced but it took a fraction of the time and as I have very little (time that is) I was happy.
Along with another batch of strawberry jam I am having to relocate my pickle/jam cupboard as there is no room left and there is still ketchup, picked cucumber and apple and mint jelly to come to name but a few. I wonder what everyone will be getting for Christmas from us this year – ha, ha!