Table of Contents
What is the origin of the shallot?
The shallot is believed to have originated in southwest Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the Near East. At the dawn of our period, it would have been acquired via selection from onion plants.
In the Middle Ages, it will be included into French cuisine, and the first farms will be established in the 12th and 13th centuries.
From the 17th century, Brittany and the Loire Valley would be its preferred agricultural regions.
Under the influence of the Latin ascalonia caepa, the term “shallot,” which was spelled escaluigne (also eschalogne or escalone) in the 12th century, would reach its ultimate form in the 16th century. This phrase literally means “onion from Ascalon” (or Ashkelon), a flourishing city in ancient Palestine that was conquered by the Crusaders in 1099 and now belongs to Israel. The shallot was discovered there and brought back by the Crusaders, according to folklore.
“Calf's head,” “Poitou red,” “chicken thigh,” “turkey leg,” and “half-long pear” are just a few of the numerous common names for it.
In certain specialist catalogs, the name “potato onion” occurs. This is a literal translation of the word potato onion from the English language. In truth, the potato onion is only a kind of shallot that produces a few big, round bulbs rather than multiple smaller, elongated bulbs like other varieties do.
Green onion is what is referred to as “shallot” in Quebec. The shallot is sometimes known as the “French shallot.”
Shallots are rarely sold before they reach their full maturity. When it is, it has a flavor that is very different from onion, yet it may be similar to green onion. Plants of the genus Allium now belong to the Alliaceae family, according to the new botanical nomenclature, while they are still occasionally classified as liliaceae or amaryllidaceae.
The shallot was long thought to be a separate species under the scientific name Allium ascalonicum. We now know it is a subspecies of the onion (A. cepa var. Aggregatum) according to molecular analyses, especially because the two plants cross easily, indicating a close kinship. This does not, however, preclude them from being quite dissimilar. The gray shallot, a gourmet favorite that is linked to the species Allium oschaninii and whose wild progenitor may still be found in the Middle East, is an exception to this rule.
The shallot, like its onion cousin, is native to southwest Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the Middle East. Under the pressure of selection, we would have gotten onion types that were significantly different from what we had before. Because the shallot was already utilized in Persia and Assyria at the time, this change would have occurred about the turn of the century, if not before. It was discovered in France during the reign of Charlemagne (around 600 AD). It will arrive in America as a result of colonialism, and it will be especially valued in Louisiana, where the Cajuns still consider it a must-have in their cuisine.
Shallots are still closely associated with French terroir in many people's perceptions. Furthermore, since 1987, the town of Busnes in Pas-de-Calais has had its famous shallot fair every year, with the gourmet chapter of the Order of the Shallot of Busnes taking center stage.
The shallot is now causing significant debate in France. According to a marketing order from 1990, “the goods arising from a bulb multiplication can only be sold under the name of shallots.” In 1995, Dutch breeders introduced shallots derived from seeds, which are simpler to produce industrially. These are also grown outside of the areas that have historically been dedicated to this culture.
For some, this project spells the end for the authentic shallots of French soil (the “traditional shallots”), which have been grown in family gardens since the Middle Ages and, since the 17th century, in the fields of Brittany and the Val de Loire, where they claim to have discovered “excellent land.” The diversity of these pseudo-shallots is a major point of contention. Some would be in the form of a shallot, while others would be more like to an onion, and yet others would be somewhere in the middle. The flavor isn't uniform either.
It's worth noting that a product derived by vegetative propagation is a clone, which means it always has the same features, which are the result of hundreds or even thousands of years of selection.
To achieve equivalent outcomes with goods grown from seeds, a significant amount of variety stabilization effort is required, something the French believe the Dutch breeders failed to undertake. The latter claim that their goods are interchangeable with conventional shallots. They even argue that by providing a high-quality product at a lesser price, they are providing a service to the public. They also question France's authority to impose decrees restricting the free flow of commerce.
How does the consumer get around it? Molecular analyses, as well as the application of a new technology known as “electronic language,” may assist to answer the question. According to the first findings, there would be distinctions between classic shallots and novel shallots derived from seeds that are, in general, considerably closer to the onion.
One thing is certain: the gray shallot is utterly unaffected by this discussion. It is true that the seed cannot replicate it.
What is the Nutritional and caloric values of shallots?
Shallot is an excellent source of group B vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and anti-oxidants, and is prized for its fragrant intensity. It also contains high amounts of health-promoting chemicals.
Shallots get the majority of their energy from carbs. The latter contains a majority of complex carbohydrates, such as fructans, which are generated from fructose, and a little amount of sucrose.
Protein content is higher than in many veggies.
Lipids are only present in trace amounts. However, phytosterols make up a considerable fraction of the lipidic compounds found in shallots. These chemicals, which are found in various amounts in plants, help to lower LDL cholesterol levels (as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle).
Vitamins abound in shallots, which are high in vitamin B6, vitamin A, and provitamin A (beta-carotene), as well as vitamin B6. It also contains significant levels of other B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3 (or PP), and particularly B9, as well as vitamin C.
It includes a variety of antioxidant chemicals, including flavonoids and beta-carotene, a carotenoid antioxidant that is also a precursor of vitamin A.
It includes sulfur compounds (containing one or more sulfur atoms) that develop when cut, just as other members of the liliaceae family (onion, leek). They're responsible for the scent and flavor, and they're also claimed to provide health benefits.
Iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium are among the minerals and trace elements found in shallots.
celluloses and hemicelluloses, pectins, and mucilaginous compounds make up its fibers.
Nutritional and caloric values of shallots
For 100 g of raw shallot:
|Name of constituents
|Saturated FA(fat acid)
|Vitamin E activity (alpha-tocopherol)
|Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
|Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin
|Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacin
|Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid
|Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine
|Vitamin B9 or Total Folate
What distinguishes shallot from other vegetables?
Shallots (Allium oschaninii or Allium cepa var. Aggregatum), like chives, onions, leeks, and garlic, are members of the Alliaceae family. She was born and raised in Central Asia.
It's a bulbous, tiny plant with a strong taste. It is a true ally on the gastronomic level and, due to its nutritious content, is vital for the body.
Note that there are 55 distinct types of shallots included in the European inventory of species and varieties.
Shallots are nutritionally significant since they are a good source of:
minerals and trace elements (copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc); vitamins (A, B6, B9, C, E, and B2, B3, and B5 in lower amounts); quercetin (a flavonoid); carbs; fibers; protein
Lipids are scarce in shallots. On the other hand, it is almost entirely made up of water. It has a caloric content of 76.1 kcal per 100 g, or 323 kJ. As a result, it consumes a moderate amount of energy.
It's also worth noting that shallots contain sulfur compounds that help to preserve the digestive tract. They're the ones who give it its distinct flavor.
Pay attention to the micronutrients in shallots.
The following are some of the nutrients that shallots are known for:
Vitamin B6 is abundant in shallots.
Vitamin B6, commonly known as pyridoxine, is a coenzyme involved in protein and fatty acid metabolism, as well as the production of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses).
It also increases red blood cell development and allows them to transport more oxygen.
Pyridoxine is also required for the conversion of glycogen to glucose and adds to the immune system's normal functioning.
Finally, this vitamin aids in the production of some nerve cell components.
Phosphorus is a mineral that is found in the soil. Phosphorus is found in shallots. After calcium, phosphorus is the second most prevalent mineral in the body. It is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also has a role in tissue development and regeneration, as well as assisting in the maintenance of appropriate blood pH. Last but not least, phosphorus is a component of cell membranes.
Magnesium is a mineral that is found in many foods. Shallots are solely a source of magnesium for women, while men's demands are larger. Magnesium has a role in bone growth, protein synthesis, enzymatic reactions, muscular contraction, dental health, and immune system function. It is also involved in energy metabolism and nerve impulse transmission.
Potassium is a mineral found in the body. Potassium is found in shallots. It is utilized in the body to help digestion by balancing the pH of the blood and stimulating the formation of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It also assists in the contraction of muscles, including the heart, as well as the transmission of nerve signals.
Iron is found in every cell in the body.
The transfer of oxygen and the production of red blood cells in the blood are both dependent on this mineral.
It's also involved in the development of new cells, hormones, and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses).
It's worth noting that iron from plant sources (like shallots) isn't as well absorbed by the body as iron from animal sources.
Plants, on the other hand, absorb iron better when taken alongside specific minerals, such as vitamin C.
Manganese is a mineral that is found in many foods. Manganese is found in shallots. Manganese is a cofactor for various enzymes that help in a variety of metabolic activities. It also aids in the prevention of free radical damage.
Copper is a metal that is used to make jewelry. Copper is found in shallots. Copper is required for the creation of hemoglobin and collagen (a protein involved in the development and repair of tissues) in the body, as it is a component of various enzymes. Several copper-containing enzymes also aid the body's anti-free radical defenses.
Folate (vitamin B9)
Shallots are high in folate.
Folate (vitamin B9) is required for the formation of all body cells, including red blood cells.
This vitamin is necessary for the creation of genetic material (DNA, RNA), the proper functioning of the neurological and immunological systems, as well as wound and wound healing.
Consumption is critical throughout periods of growth and development of the fetus since it is required for the formation of new cells.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C is found in shallots. Vitamin C's purpose in the body extends beyond its antioxidant characteristics; it also helps to maintain the health of bones, cartilage, teeth, and gums. It also defends against infections, improves the absorption of iron from plants, and speeds up the healing process.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Shallots contain beta-carotene, which is a type of vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the most versatile vitamins, as it has several activities in the body. It aids in the development of bones and teeth, among other things. It protects the skin from infections and maintains it healthy. It also contains antioxidant effects and improves eyesight, especially in low light.
What are the benefits of shallots and their many virtues?
In general, the vitamins, antioxidant chemicals, and fibre found in fruits and vegetables provide significant health benefits. A high diet of vegetables and fruits has been demonstrated in several studies to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other disorders.
Shallots are high in antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids (beta-carotene), and sulfur compounds, all of which contribute to their health advantages.
Regular intake of shallots, as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, would effectively help to the prevention of illnesses, including cancer.
It is considered to offer specific preventive properties against stomach and intestinal malignancies, as do all members of the liliaceae family (shallot, garlic, onion, chives, leek).
Shallot has a number of health advantages due to its high nutritional content.
Antioxidant: Shallot protects against numerous cardiovascular illnesses and certain types of cancer by fighting cellular aging caused by free radicals.
It is essential for the muscles because it aids the heart's job and encourages muscular contraction.
It promotes bone formation, tissue regeneration, and cell membrane renewal, as well as helping to maintain teeth healthy. The shallot aids in the synthesis of collagen, which is a protein involved in tissue healing.
It causes red blood cells to carry more oxygen and aids to their development, making it beneficial to the blood and arteries. Shallot aids in the rebalancing of the blood's hydrogen potential (pH) and the strengthening of capillary channel walls.
It is protective in that it helps to avoid cerebrovascular accidents (AVC). The shallot, in addition to being antimicrobial, may also be antifungal. It boosts the immune system and decreases LDL cholesterol levels (commonly called bad cholesterol).
Digestive: It aids digestion by boosting the stomach's production of hydrochloric acid.
All of the advantages of shallots are, of course, tied to a well-balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle, and frequent exercise.
What if I told you… In the dark, shallots increase visual acuity (called nyctalopia or twilight vision).
The National Health Nutrition Program encourages eating at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables per day (80 g minimum) and taking advantage of seasonal variability. The shallot is available throughout the year. In May and June, it is available fresh.
Shallots are normally used in modest amounts, however they may be consumed at any time.
Shallots are used in a variety of ways.
The shallot cloves (bulbs) can be eaten raw or cooked. Salads and fresh vegetables, broths, soups, meats, vegetables, seafood, and sauces are just a few of the dishes that include chopped shallots.
It can also be used with onion or garlic.
If you don't have any chives, chopped shallot leaves can be used instead.
For more information about shallots virtues:
A high intake of fruits and vegetables has been demonstrated in several prospective and epidemiological studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, some malignancies, and other chronic illnesses. Furthermore, items from the alliaceae family (such as shallot, onion, green onion, garlic, chives, and leek) are recognized to have anti-cancer properties.
Antioxidants are chemicals that protect cells in the body from free radical damage. These are highly reactive compounds that are thought to have a role in the development of cardiovascular illnesses, some malignancies, and other aging-related disorders. According to the findings of an in vitro investigation, shallot extracts have antioxidant activity comparable to garlic extracts.
In other investigations, shallot antioxidant activity was shown to be stronger than that of other onion and cabbage cultivars. This high antioxidant activity would be attributed to the flavonoids found in shallots. Among the 10 onion varieties, shallot comes fourth in terms of flavonoid content. It should be mentioned that onions are a major source of flavonoids in the diet, notably quercetin.
Shallots also have a high concentration of beta-carotene, a carotenoid molecule. These are antioxidant-rich foods. In comparison, 125 mL (1/2 cup) shallot contains around 600 ug of beta-carotene, whereas red pepper and melon, both recognized for their high beta-carotene content, have two and three times more, respectively.
Shallots contain sulfur compounds that are less well-known than sulfur compounds found in other alliates, such as garlic.
Alliates' ability to protect against some malignancies, primarily those of the digestive system, appears to be connected to their sulfur concentration.
Furthermore, it is these compounds that give them their distinct flavor.
The effects of sulfur compounds in shallots have not been studied in detail to yet.
In vitro tests have demonstrated that shallot extracts, as well as garlic and onion extracts, exhibit antibacterial properties against fungus and bacteria. Researchers have discovered a particular peptide in shallots that is thought to have a role in their antifungal properties. Other proteins or peptides in the shallot might possibly have a role, but this has yet to be shown. Furthermore, human research must be conducted before it can be concluded that shallot intake has an antibacterial impact.
How do you select and keep well the correct shallots?
Purchase bulbs that are solid and germ-free. It's also crucial that the shallots have a mild and delicate aroma. An unpleasant odor might signal the start of degeneration and the presence of rotting beneath the skin.
For the best possible conservation,
After harvesting in the fall, gray shallots may only be preserved for a few weeks. As a result, it's difficult to find it outside of season. The others can be stored for a few months. In a paper bag or mesh bag, keep all varieties of shallots dry and at room temperature. Refrigerators and heated areas, particularly those near the stove, should be avoided.
How to Cook Shallots?
Shallots are an important component of our gourmet tradition in France. On closer inspection, it does appear in some of our most frequent foods, such as meats in sauce, salads, and sauces. It is a potent taste enhancer that offers relief to our modest meals, even the simplest, for good reason.
**Shallots are used in a variety of famous French sauces, including Béarnaise, du Diable, Bordeaux, Bercy, and others.
**Scallops are served with local shallots in Brittany.
**It's used to produce the famed Nantes white butter, which is made with salted butter, shallots, and a dash of cider vinegar in Nantes. This entails first melting the chopped shallots in the vinegar until all of the liquid has evaporated, then pressing the shallots into a muslin bag to collect the juices. When ready to serve, combine the juices with a teaspoon of crème fraîche in a double boiler, then gently add the butter as it melts while continuing to whisk;
**Make a chilled shallot soup with butter, milk, cottage cheese, chicken stock, potatoes, shallots, and parsley.
**Shallot vinegar is made by chopping the shallots and marinating them in the vinegar. It's great for salad dressings and deglazing baked items.
**Shallots in foil are made by coating them with olive oil, covering them in aluminum foil, and baking them at 180° C for about 20 minutes. They go well with meat or seafood. They can be caramelized towards the conclusion of the cooking process by sprinkling sugar on top;
**In French bistros, the flank steak with shallot is the most popular meal. In the same way, we prepare the tab. Cook the steaks on all sides before placing them in a hot dish. Remove the excess fat, then add the butter and the chopped shallots to simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and a splash of wine or cider vinegar if desired. Remove the pan from the heat and finish with a knob of butter. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, then top them with shallots and serve with fries right away.
**Fresh sardines are breaded and fried in oil in Côte d'Ivoire, then served with shallot-soaked vinegar.
**Malaysia and Indonesia are also big fans of shallots. It can be eaten raw, fried, or marinated.
**Shouldots that are sprouting should not be thrown away. Raw or cooked, they're excellent. Furthermore, in Louisiana, a type is grown for its green stems, which are substituted for green onions.
What are the contraindications and allergies associated with shallots?
There are minimal contraindications to moderate and regular use of shallots, and no major allergies exist. However, in certain people, it might induce digestive problems, resulting in unpleasant stomach symptoms. It all comes down to your digestive tolerance and amount.
What are the connections between quercetin and lactose intolerance?
Lactase activity is decreased, and in some cases missing, in lactose intolerant people. Lactase is an enzyme that aids in the digestion of lactose, which is found in milk and various dairy products. This enzyme may also be involved in the digestion and absorption of quercetin, a flavonoid present in alliaceous plants. Lactase has been proven in vitro to enhance the absorption of quercetin from foods such as shallots and onions. However, human studies are needed to precisely analyze the absorption of this flavonoid in lactose intolerant patients.