Echalote Grise: Final Update

I've now harvested my Echalote Grise and so this year's experiment has come to an end. As you can see the differences I noted in my update earlier in the year have continued.

The ones from the sets at the top are relatively plentiful though mostly really small in size whereas the shop bought at the bottom are fewer and larger. The latter come close to the size of both types planted at the start of the year.

This year's wet weather meant that most of the crop rotted into the clay, so it's hard to make a comparison by weight. The difference in appearance makes me wonder which are actually Echalote Grise shallots.

The shop bought crop is quite soft, so these will need using up very quickly. Therefore I won't be trying growing these again as one of the beauties of growing shallots is their fantastic keeping qualities.

I've ordered some sets for next year's experiment: a comparison of growing with and without biochar.


  1. Echalote gris I have bought in France many times bear little resemblance to your shop bought ones. They are hard and very very compact hence keeping their shape and texture well in cooking/preserving. The skins are greyish and hard an absolute devil to peel off- I know from peeling several kilos for confiture.. Took the end of my fingernails right off.

    They are usually fairly small like your top ones. I've never seen them for sale in this country and even in France are not that ubiquitous so my best guess is that the bought ones are a different sort of shallot.

  2. It is not a good year for onions - many of ours are soft and will need using soon. No point in having a pile of onions that will not keep. I am hoping next summer will be less erratic.

  3. Shallots are one of the things I want to grow in my new kitchen garden - when it exists. I shall have to follow your experiment from the beginning, I certainly want ones which will keep well. And taste really good...

  4. You certainly know your onions!

    I note the quince are super abundant here so will save some for you when we come to harvest.

  5. Arabella - your description definitely matches those I've grown from sets. The shop bought ones resemble the Jermoor variety I've grown previously.

    EG - over the past few years I've fared better with autumn onion sets. I read somewhere the other day they perform better on clay than spring grown ones, which certainly tallies with my experience. This year, I'm swapping to raised beds for my onion/shallot/garlic growing, so we'll see if that makes any improvement...

    Janet - shallots keep slightly better than onions in my experience and are more expensive in the shops. You can also save your own for next year, which cuts down on seed/set costs :) Something to keep in mind if you're short of growing space or wish to start your kitchen garden in easy stages.

    Mark - hurrah and hurrah! I'm also looking forward to reading your new book :)


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