The 3 Main Varieties Of Shallots You Should Know About

Have you wondered what a shallot is? Is it an onion? A type of garlic? According to the Food Network, shallots are vegetables that aid in building flavor in all types of dishes, and they are very much like garlic and a lot like onions. They are great for bringing light heat and some sweetness to your recipes. They are a lot like red onions in that they become sweeter when they are cooked, but they have a milder taste than most onions or garlic.

Shallots don't just taste like onions, though — they also look like smaller onions that are slightly elongated. They are covered in papery skin, much like an onion, and their coloring inside resembles a red onion. Shallots are grown in clusters, however, which makes them closer to garlic than an onion, and when you break them open for cooking, they look a lot like garlic in that they break into cloves. 

Shallot varieties explained

According to Home Guides, there are several types of shallots, with three main varieties — the grey shallot, the Prisma shallot, and the Jersey, or pink, shallot. Each of these closely resembles one another, but there are some distinct differences between them. For example, gray shallots are more elongated and they feature gray skin and purple-tinted flesh. The grey shallots, also called Griselle, have a stronger taste than the other varieties of shallots, making them a chef's favorite for cooking.

Prisma shallots feature deep pink, glossy skin. They are easier to grow than the other varieties, so they are often carried at all of the best grocery stores. Pink shallots are typically larger than the previous two types of shallots, and they are more round than elongated in shape. They have a milder flavor, making them better for eating raw, like in a salad.

Picking the best shallots

Now that you know more about the different types of shallots, you can choose the best one for your recipe. Most grocery stores carry them, and you can usually find them near the garlic and onions. You should choose shallots that are firm and have some weight to them, according to Instacart, and stay away from shallots with soft spots or discoloration. Also, keep in mind that shallots with green sprouts coming from them will be more bitter and have a stronger taste. If you are looking for a milder flavor, select smaller shallots. Larger shallots have more of an onion or garlic flavor. 

Once you have purchased your shallots, you can use them in recipes like coleslaw, marinara, or turkey gravy. But if you don't want to use them right away, you will need to store them properly. According to Healthline, whole shallots should be stored in a dark, dry, cool, and well-ventilated room, like a pantry, basement, or garage. If you have peeled or cut the shallots, store them in the fridge in a covered container.