Banana Shallots
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The Banana Shallots (Amaryllidaceae Allium cepa var. aggregatum) are a category of Multiplier Onions that go by the name “Shallot” in the market place. They are not “True Shallots” (Éschallote de Tradition) that form clumps of bulbs from a single planted bulb.

Banana Shallots, also called “Chef’s Shallots,” “Turkish Onions” or ”Torpedo Shallots,” are an Échalion (an elongated Onion). Because they are more often called “Shallot” than they are called “Onion,” they are grouped with the seed-bred Shallots (“Éschallote de Semi).

Banana Shallots, which is a category and not a single vegetable, tend to have a range of colors from golden skinned to copper red skinned.  Some varieties have almost all white flesh inside, others are white at the core with the outer layers of pink or purple flesh. From this, we can gather that the Banana Shallot is not named for its color. Instead it is named for its curving, torpedo, banana-like shape that is longer and larger than regular, true Shallots.

See Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information Resource for more on the Shallot.

Season

September through Mid May in North America. See Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information Resource for more on the Shallot’s season.

Availability

Banana Shallots are available year round.

Cultivation

Multiplier Onions like the Banana Shallot are grown from seeds. There can be two harvests a year for Banana Shallots. Plant in the spring and harvest in the fall or plant them overwinter for spring use. Space the sets one foot apart (30 cm). 10 sets will complete a ten foot row (3 m). Each Banana Shallot seed will produce between 15 and 20 new Banana shallot bulbs when planted. They need about a 90 days to reach maturity. Banana Shallots like sandy soil and warmer temperatures.

See Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information Resource for more on the Shallot’s cultivation.

Production

See Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information Resource for more on the Shallot’s production.

Varieties

Jemor Shallots, Long Red Florence Shallots, Zebrune Shallots, Cuisses de Poulet du Poitou Shallots, etc. Cuisse de Poulet means “Chicken Thigh” in French and recalls the shape of the Shallot.

See Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information Resource for more on the Shallot’s varieties.

Purchasing

Cured Banana Shallots are most often found at retail in small mesh bags, windowed boxes or trays holding 5-7 Shallot bulbs each. They are often about twice the price of their cousins, small White Onions. Fresh Shallots are found at retail less often and typically follow the Shallot seasons.

When selecting Banana Shallots, look for firm, dry Shallots that are completely covered in papery skin. The skin should be smooth and wrinkle free and the Shallots should be firm and heavy for their size. They should have no black spots or mushy soft spots. Sprouting shallots are an indication of age, can taste bitter in use, and should be avoided.

Shallots need some time to develop their flavor. The younger and smaller the Shallot of a given variety is, the milder it will taste. As we mention in Seasons above, there are two Shallot seasons in North America. The primary season begins in the spring and runs through late summer. Fresh Shallots are most easily found in season. Because of counter-cyclical planting it is possible to find Cured Shallots all year long.

Shallots can also be purchased as Dried Shallots or Freeze Dried Shallots. These preserved Shallots are usually Chopped, Flaked or even in a powder form when they are packaged for sale.

Storage

The first and best way to get the most out of your French Banana Shallots is to try and purchase only what you will need for use in the short term. Shallots are not a staple in most homes, though many can argue that they should be.

That being said, if you overbuy or find a deal, you can store Fresh Shallots in the refrigerator for about a week. Refrigeration does encourage sprouting though, but don’t worry. If your Banana Shallots sprout during storage, just remove the somewhat bitter Shallot sprouts before use. In fact, some cooks use the Shallot tops as they would use Chives.

The Fresh Banana Shallots you bring home can also be Peeled (as you would Peel Onions) and then Chopped and placed in an airtight container to be frozen for up to 3 months. However, they will lose their crunch during the freezing and thawing process. Their texture will be more like that of a Sautéed Shallot.

Cured Shallots, those most of us see in the produce aisle, most of the year, should be stored in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Some folks store them in hanging mesh baskets. They should last a few months.

Culinary Uses

Banana Shallots combine the subtle, sweet taste of Shallots with, because of their size, some of the functionality and ease of use of Onions.

Because they are an Allium, Banana Shallots have a flavor that is reminiscent of Onions or Garlic, but the Banana Shallots are milder and sweeter than either. They are larger than most Shallots though, making them easier and quicker to work with.

Once prepped (as you would Peel an Onion), Banana Shallots can be Sliced, Chopped, Minced, Diced, etc. as needed by the chef or the Recipe.

Remember that Shallots contain sulfur compounds, like Onions, and can cause reflex tears when cut. Raw Banana Shallots are edible but, like Onions and Garlic, they are infrequently eaten Raw (except maybe in Salads) because they are fairly pungent.

Most often Banana Shallots are cooked to break them down and Caramelize them so that they can become integral components of creamy hot Sauces (like Sauce Bearnaise,)  Pan SaucesBeurre BlancsCompound Butters, or other dishes that benefit from a shot of Allium flavor. Dropping Shallots into the Roasting Pan of a Roast Chicken is a good example. Smart Kitchen’s recipe version is Roast Chicken with Rosemary, Shallots & Garlic.

Banana Shallots are most often Roasted or Sautéed, but they can also be SweatedBraisedPan FriedDeep FriedStewed, etc. To learn more Culinary Uses visit Smart Kitchen’s General Shallot Information.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 T of Banana Shallots per person.

Pairings

Banana Shallots pair well with: Fresh Basil, Dried Basil, Bay LeafBlack PepperWhite PepperCaraway SeedsCardamom, Cayenne, CilantroCinnamonClovesCorianderCumin Seeds, Curry, Dill, Mace, MarjoramMintPaprikaFlat Leaf ParsleyCilantroRosemarySaffronSageKosher SaltSea SaltBrown SugarGranulated SugarThyme, Lemon Thyme, Apples, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Mangoes, Raisins, Golden Raisins, Vegetables, Beets, Bell Peppers, CarrotsCucumbersGarlic, Chili Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Habanera Peppers, MushroomsBlack OlivesPeasPotatoesTomatoesMeatsBeefGround BeefHamburgersSandwiches, Pork, Bacon, Liver, PoultryStocks, Beef StockChicken Stock, Veal Stock, Beer, Brandy, Wine, Dry Red Wine, White Wine, Port, ButterUnsalted ButterCheddar CheeseComte CheeseEmmentaler CheeseFromage Blanc Cheese, Goat Cheese, Gruyere CheeseParmesan CheeseSwiss CheeseMilkCreamHeavy CreamCrème FraicheEggsSour CreamBitter GreensMustardDijon MustardSaucesGraviesSoupsOilCanola OilPeanut OilSesame OilVegetable OilGrape Seed OilOlive OilVinegarBalsamic VinegarChampagne VinegarRed Wine VinegarSherry VinegarWhite Wine VinegarApple Cider VinegarRice Wine Vinegar

Substitutes

You can substitute for Banana Shallots with regular Shallots. Use 2 regular Shallots for each Banana Shallot.

Nutritional Value USDA
SHALLOTS,RAW
Amount Per 100g
Calories 72
%Daily Value*
 
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 12mg
7%
Potassium 334mg
5%
Total Carbohydrate 16g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes