So, you need to store your shallots after you’ve harvested them to keep ’em fresh.
Shallots may not be as popular as its bigger brother (the onion), but it’s in the same family (allium) as onions, scallions, leeks, and garlic.
They offer a mild, sweet, and sharp taste simultaneously and make an excellent topper for soups and salads.
Shallots can be stored after harvest for extended periods of time. You can preserve them after harvest using a variety of methods.
Depending on how you preserve them and for how long, a mason jar, mesh netting, or dehydrating and freezing may suffice.
Let’s dive in and talk about how to store shallots after harvest so you can get the most out of your labor!
What do I do with shallots?
Shallots can be used for a variety of foods. It’s a common topping used in salads, soups, sides, stir-fries, casseroles, sauces, and more.
You can also add it to rosemary, thyme, and balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor.
How to harvest shallots
You can harvest shallots around late summer (August to September).
You’ll know when the shallots are ripe for picking when the leaves begin to wane and dry.
Depending on your hardiness zone, this varies
So you’ll have to continually monitor them and be harvesting when the time is right.
The actual process is very easy. Just get a garden spade and dig up the bulbs.
Start by digging around the bulb to remove the excess soil.
Then when the bulb becomes unlodged, you can safely dig it out and begin preserving it. It needs to be cured first before you store it or else it’ll rot.
When to harvest shallots
The best time to harvest shallots varies depending on what you plan to use it for.
There are two major parts to each shallot that are consumed:
- The shallot “tops”
- The shallot bulbs
Both of them are used for different things. If you plan to eat your shallots, you’ll need to harvest the tops.
This part of the vegetable can be collected after 30 days and is ready for use in your favorite soup or salad.
The bulbs can be saved for future planting or preserved for canning. They take a lot longer to mature compared to the tops.
Typically, they’re ready for harvest after about 90 days. You can start digging up the bulb and removing it carefully. The easiest way to tell is when the leaves of the shallot begin to wilt.
Harvest as soon as this happens or else the foliage will brown and wither.
For most shallots, the right time to harvest the bulb is around August to September.
How to preserve shallots
Here are some of the most popular ways you can preserve and store shallots for the future.
Whether you want to save them for a short term and replant next year or freeze them for extended storage, here’s what you need to know.
What’s the best way to store shallots?
This depends on you.
How long do you plan to store them?
- For replanting next season, store them in a mesh bag with plenty of air circulation.
- For regular use during cooking, store them in mason jars.
- And for extended periods, freeze them.
- Or if you just want to store them overnight, throw them in the fridge and call it a day.
Assess what you plan to do and the time you want to store them for. Then take it from there.
How do you store shallots after harvesting?
Shallots can be harvested and then safely stored by placing them in a secure, dry, and warm location for 14 days afterward.
Shallots need to be cured after harvest before you permanently store them for an extended period.
After two weeks have passed and they’re fully cured, use a knife and prune the dry leaves off the bulbs.
Then place the bulbs into a nylon or mesh bag in a cool, dry area. Ideally, you should store them in temperatures under 40F and with 60% relative humidity.
A cupboard or storage container fits the bill.
Store for planting again next year
Shallots can be used for the next growing season when stored properly.
Every single shallot will make almost 32 ounces of usable bulbs, so they’re extremely profitable whether you’re using them yourself or giving them away.
You probably won’t need to use up all the bulbs from one harvest, so you can save some for next year.
Shallots are a vegetable you never have to buy again once you get a good harvest going.
Each stored shallot lasts for quite some time- up to 9 months. So it’s plenty of time until the next growing season (in the fall or winter).
You can safely store your prepped shallots for replanting next year. If you plan to use them immediately next season, storing them in a cool, dry area works.
However, you need to prep them correctly for proper storage.
- Harvest your bulbs in the spring or summer when the tops begin to start turning yellow or when the color fades.
- Clean the bulb and then use a paring knife to separate the bulb into shallots.
- Be sure to wash off any dirt or debris because you’ll be storing these for an extended period. So you want to clean the shallots carefully to prevent rot.
- Dry the shallots on a paper towel. Toss out any damaged shallots or ones that are showing signs of rot.
- Pick the best-looking shallots and keep them. Place them into a mesh bag, then into a netted bag. Try to separate and pack them individually. This prevents any bacteria or viruses from transferring from one piece to another.
- Finally, place the netted bag into a small container with air holes that keeps sunlight out.
- You can store them in any dry area that hovers around 45F. Humidity needs to be present, but not excessive.
Never allow the sun to shine on them. And keep air circulating at all times. That’s it. They’re ready for planting again next season!
Can I freeze fresh shallots?
Shallots can be frozen to preserve them for long periods.
You can safely freeze any harvested shallots by doing the following:
- Prep the shallots by slicing them into fine pieces
- Wrap the slices using aluminum foil or saran wrap
- Store the shallot sliced into airtight containers, freezer bags, or mason jars
- Put the containers right into your freezer at 0F or lower
Shallots will last indefinitely in the freezer when stored properly. They can go for several months with no degrading in quality.
After you’re ready to use them again, defrost them first. They should stay fresh even after being frozen.
How to dehydrate shallots
Dehydrating shallots are no different than any other vegetable. The process involves using a vacuum mylar bag or mason jar for storage.
You can dehydrate shallots to keep the moisture out and store for many years without any loss of freshness!
You just need to be sure to remove all moisture and seal up the pieces with absolutely no oxygen in the bag.
A quality food dehydrator makes all the difference.
- Wash the shallots to remove any pesticides, bacteria, or other impurities before storage
- Use a cutting knife and remove the bulb and roots.
Remove any damaged leaves that have turned color or otherwise don’t look fresh.
- Slice each shallot lengthwise to your desired length (you can also cut horizontally if you wish)
Place the shallots on an aluminum, oven-safe surface.
- Dehydrate at 125F for 8 hours.
- Remove and pack with a mylar bag to keep the moisture out.
- Alternatively, you can use an airtight mason jar, but this doesn’t work as well as a dedicated mylar bag.
- The shallots should be clean, green, and fully dehydrated before you store them.
- You should be able to squeeze them with your fingers and they should give a firm crunch (with an audible cue). Store in a cool, dry area out of sunlight.
Other common questions about shallots
Here are other questions readers commonly ask.
Why are my shallots bolting?
Shallots that bolt needs to be handled or else they’ll result in smaller bulbs.
Bolting refers to when they flower, which drains the plant of vital energy. It uses the food to produce flowers, rather than making larger bulbs.
Bolting isn’t exclusive to these plants, as it’s also seen in onions, basil, and more.
Flowering is normal, but bolting is when they flower earlier than they should. This results in poor quality harvests.
When temperatures are cool and humidity is high, this causes shallots to bolt due to plant stress.
You can minimize flowering by keeping humidity in the correct range and keeping them in a warmer location.
Plants from the Allium family flower once every two years. Bolting reduces food quality, so it’s frowned upon by growers.
You can do some quick fixes to reduce the bolting:
- Prune the flower as soon as you see it by snipping the flower bud at the top of the shallot stalk.
- Don’t cut the leaves- only the flowers.
- Don’t disturb the bulb after you snip the flowers. Leave it inside the soil or harvest it if ready.
- Bulbs that are left behind with minimal disturbance will stop developing so you can preserve your plant naturally.
Harvest the shallots that have bolted and leave the unbolted ones.
Note that just because SOME shallots start flowering doesn’t mean they all will.
- But you should monitor the situation.
- Keep the humidity in the right range.
- Don’t let excess water buildup around the area.
- Use a well-draining soil.
Why are my shallots so small?
Your shallots may be smaller than expected because of poor watering habits or poor quality soil.
To get the most from your harvest, follow these tips:
- Use a high quality, well-draining soil
- Water on a regular schedule
- Use extra water on hot days and less water on cooler days
- Check to make sure the shallot variant you’re planting grows big
- Use general plant food regularly
- Consider using fishmeal or bonemeal
Note that shallots are a biennial plant. This means that you plant a large shallot to grow small ones, and a small shallot will perdue huge ones.
The seasons “alternate” each year.
This is why you should SAVE your small shallot bulbs and reuse them next season to grow larger ones.
What month do you plant shallots?
Shallots are best planted in the fall, six weeks before the first freeze.
They can be planted in “sets” throughout the spring before the last frost. If you want a harvest throughout the summer, you can plant them in batches up until the last frost.
Some people start as late as winter. Fall plantings tend to yield voluptuous harvests if protected throughout the winter or if the winter isn’t too harsh.
Can I grow shallots from the grocery store?
Yes, you can grow the ones you buy from the supermarket.
They plant the same way as from a seed or the nursery. Use well-drained soil that chock full of organic matter.
Water plenty and use general plant food.
Should I let my shallots flower?
If you plan to harvest your shallots, don’t let it flower.
When it flowers, the plant uses more of its energy to produce the flowers and less on the actual edible portions.
This will result in smaller shallot harvests.
Snip flowers as soon as you see them conserve the energy.
Shallots, onions, and garlic will flower naturally every two years. If you let them flower, you shouldn’t expect to get large shallots upon harvest.
How long do chopped shallots last?
Shallots that have already been chopped can be preserved in the fridge.
Seal them up with saran wrap or an airtight container. Fresh shallots will be edible up to 10 days when stored properly.
However, if you prep and dry them, then wrap them in a mesh bag or mason jar, they can be stored for up to 9 months. This is what you do if you want to plant them again next year.
Or if you just want to freeze them, dehydrate them and use a mylar bag for freezing.
This will last you indefinitely. You can store shallots for years doing this.
Do you need to peel shallots?
Yes, shallots need to be peeled before you eat them.
Just like onion and garlic, you need to peel off the skin for it to be prepped for cooking.
You can use your fingers or a knife to peel more efficiently.
Alternatively, you can boil the shallots for easier skin removal.
A vegetable peeler makes it hard because of the shallot bulb’s odd shape.
When should you lift shallots?
Shallots can be lifted when you notice that the leaves start to turn yellow or fade in color.
“Lifting” means to dig up the bulb. If you leave the bulb in the substrate, the shallot will stop development, so you’ll need to harvest regardless.
The bulbs will protrude from the substrate and the foliage starts to wither.
You’ll know when it’s time to harvest because the outer layer of the bulb becomes paper-thin. This usually happens around summer.
After you pick the shallots from your garden, you can start to prepare, store, and preserve them.
What to do with extra shallots?
There are many things you can do with spare shallots.
After they’ve been cleaned and separated from the bulb, these veggies are perfect for any of the following:
- Store them for future use in soups and salads
- Freeze them for future use
- Save them for growing next year
- Give them away to friends and family
- Use them for other recipes
- Cook them!
- Make vinaigrette
- Make musir
- Use them in tomato sauces
- Sprinkle shallots on fish or pasta
- Put shallots on steaks, burger, or even eggs
- Use on savory dishes
And now you know how to preserve shallots
The process is easy once you do it for the first time. Storing shallots if just like storing onions.
You just need to alter your process a tad bit, but this allows you to toss them into a mason jar or the freezer for a very long time.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment for me below!
I took interest into microflora and microgreens before it became mainstream. The idea of growing an entire ecosystem on a tiny scale simply was astounding. That’s where I discovered that I actually like raising plants and wasn’t as much of a black thumb as I thought. Now, I’m relaying what I’ve learned to others who are getting into the hobby in a way that anyone can understand.