The shallot is a member of the Allium (Onion) Family, originating in the ancient city of Ashkelon or Ascalon. From there, shallots made their way to India and the eastern Mediterranean by way of travelers and traders. Shallots reproduce through "offsets" (tubers or bulbs) like garlic, onions, lilies, and tulips. Offsets are planted in the fall (in Ontario) for a spring/summer harvest. Shallots form much like garlic, with multiple cloves per head. Each clove is covered in a thin, papery skin which varies in colour from pale brown to pale gray to rose. The off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Fresh shallots are available in the spring and summer, while dry shallots are available year-round. Fresh shallots can be stored in the fridge for up to one week, while dry shallots should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place like onions, for up to a month. Shallots can be used exactly like onions, though their milder flavour is well suited for raw applications like dressings, salads, and as a topping in sandwiches. They sauté and caramelize exactly like onions, making them a nice accompaniment to scrambled eggs or omelets, since they are less pungent. In many Asian cuisines, deep fried shallots are used as a condiment, as are pickled shallots (often pickled with cucumbers). In India, shallots are used extensively in snacks, salads, curries, and rice dishes. Shallots are sometimes used as a home remedy for sore throats, much like garlic. Interestingly, shallots have a better nutrition profile than onions. They have more antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins on a per weight basis than onions. Shallots contain flavenoids and enzymes that reduce cholestorol production. They are also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. They are high in Vitamins A, C, and B6 as well as folates, thiamin, iron, calcium, copper, potassium, and phosphorous. TIP: to avoid eye irritation, immerse your trimmed shallot bulb/clove a few minutes prior to chopping or slicing them!