TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

July 11, 2010

How to plant shallots

Filed under: Uncategorized, root veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 11:25 am

Shallots are traditionally planted from sets ( very small shallots). 

clump-of-shallots

clump-of-shallots

They grow new bulbs in a cluster around the mother set, rather like a garlic clove.

using-walking-board-to-plant shallots

using-walking-board-to-plant shallots

Plant as soon as soil is dry enough , in March or April.

pushing-shallot-in-ground

pushing-shallot-in-ground

Use a trowel, unless soil very light, when sets can be pushed in, so that they are buried to half their depth & have their shoulders poking through.  Plant 15cm (6in) apart with 30cm (12in) between rows.

shallot-out-of-bed

shallot-out-of-bed

Check daily to make sure birds have not pulled them out.  Push them back in if necessary.  May be worth covering with a net if birds a problem.

hoe-shallots

hoe-shallots

Keep weeds down.

flopping&ready-to-harvest shallots

flopping&ready-to-harvest shallots

 Lift or harvest shallots when leaves start to flop over & yellow, traditionally on the longest day.  Leave them on the top of the soil to dry out, if it is dry & rain is not forecast, otherwise dry them under cover.  There is no need to separate the clumps, they will fall apart naturally.

Storage: When dry, and the skins are shiny, store in trays, nets or tights in a cool, dry, well ventilated place.  They should keep for 9 or 12 months.

Use shallots in cooking because they have a milder flavour than onions.  They are good added whole to stews and casseroles.

March 7, 2010

Check planted shallots

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 10:57 am

Checking the planted shallots revealed that some had jumped out of their bed.

shallots-feb2010

shallots-feb2010

This often happens, particularly just after planting the shallots, before they have had time to push out some roots which will anchor them down.

shallot-out-of-bed

shallot-out-of-bed

Shallots tend to jump out of bed because either:

  • worms in the soil push them out from below
  • or, birds pull them out.

We always blamed the sparrows who investigate anything new in the vegetable garden.  But these shallots have been covered with a cloche to protect them from the frost, so birds would not get to the shallots easily.  So fingers seem to be pointing at the worms for displacing the shallots.

pushing-shallot-in-ground

pushing-shallot-in-ground

We just push the shallots back into the bed, and will continue checking them until they are rooted firmly into the ground.

November 12, 2009

How to Pickle Onions

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 1:37 pm

The main thing you need to pickle onions is plenty of time, otherwise it is quite straightforward!

pickled-onions-pink

pickled-onions-pink

  • most people use shallots for pickled onions
  • make a brine solution by dissolving 8oz of salt in 4 pints of water
  • skin the onions – using a stainless steel or silver knife – as they will discolour
  • cover the onions in a cold brine solution for at least 24 hours.  Place a dish over the top of the onions to make sure they are covered with brine.  The brine draws the water out of the onions & makes them crispy.
  • drain the onions from the brine
  • fill a clean, sterilised jar with onions & cover with spiced pickling vinegar
pickled-onion-jars

pickled-onion-jars

The spiced pickling vinegar can be of any flavour & it is worth trying a few different ones.

It is possible to buy spiced pickling vinegar, or you can make your own using a different vinegar (cider, wine, raspberry vinegar etc) & add your own combination of spices.  Pre-mixed pickling spices can be found in supermarkets, or you can add your own combination of chillies, ginger, pepper, mustard seeds etc..

Topper-pickled-onions

Topper-pickled-onions

It is very easy to pickle onions, just time consuming!  But a jar of home-made pickled onions is a treat – or an excellent gift or  Christmas present.

November 11, 2009

Green Tomato Chutney Recipe

Filed under: tomato — Tags: , , , , , , , , — TopVeg @ 7:05 pm

This Green tomato chutney recipe is a great combination of apples, shallots and green tomatoes. It is cheap & easy to make if you grow your own apples, shallots and green tomatoes. It is also a way of using up the damaged, pecked or wind blown apples.

green-tomatoes

green-tomatoes

Ingredients for 5 or 6  500kg jars

  • 1.5kg green tomatoes
  • 1 kg cooking apple
  • 450g shallots
  • 450g sultanas
  • 450g demerara sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 50g root ginger
  • 50g salt
  • 25g mustard seeds
  • 1.75litres wine vinegar
  • 2 red chillies
chutney-green-tomato

chutney-green-tomato

Method

  • cut up the tomatoes
  • peel, core and chop the apples
  • peel and slice the shallots
  • crush the ginger with a rolling pin
  • halve the chillies
  • place the ginger & chillies in a muslin bag, tie it securely & place in the preserving pan, & add all the other ingredients
  • put the pan on a gentle heat & stir until the sugar has dissolved
  • then simmer for about two hours without the lid on the pan
  • when there is no more runny liquid, and the chutney is creamy and thick, remove the muslin bag
  • pour into warm, sterilised jars, cover, seal and label
  • keep for 2 months to allow the flavour to develop

This recipe for green tomato chutney will make a good Christmas gift.

Powered by WordPress