Origin: Onion seems to originate from West or Central Asia.
Shallots are often thought to be another variety of onion, but they
are actually a species of their own. They grow in clusters, where
separate bulbs are attached at the base and by loose skins. The
shallot has a tapered shape and a fine-textured, coppery skin, which
differentiates it from onions. Shallots were first introduced to
Europeans during the 12th Century. Crusaders brought them home as
“valuable treasure” from the Shallot, as the word is commonly used,
or eschallot in some countries, refers to two different Allium
species of plant. The French grey shallot or griselle, which has
been considered to be the "true shallot" by many, is Allium
oschaninii, a species which grows wild from Central to Southwest
Asia. Other varieties of shallot are Allium cepa var. aggregatum
(multiplier onions), also known as A. ascalonicum.
Unlike onions where each plant normally forms a single bulb,
shallots form clusters of offsets, rather in the manner of garlic.
Shallots are extensively cultivated and much used in cookery, in
addition to being pickled.
Shallots are propagated by offsets. In planting, the tops of the
bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and it is a commendable
plan to draw away the soil surrounding the bulbs when their roots
have taken hold. They should not be planted on ground recently
Like other onions, raw shallots release chemicals that irritate the
eye when sliced, resulting in tears.