Shallots, eschallots, scallions, spring onions?

Discussion in 'Other' started by OskarDoLittle, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I was just recently reminded of this weird nomenclature in Australia (actually I’d probably say it’s NSW where it’s weirdest) regarding what I would call a “shallot” versus a “spring onion” versus an “eschallot” . I was quite surprised when watching a Kylie Kwong rerun on SBS the other night that she referred to some spring onions as “shallots”. Kylie however is from NSW - who seem to follow a different naming standard then other states/countries.
    I wondered what everyone else commonly calls these - particularly our international members who seem to have less confusion over onion naming that Aussie supermarkets. I thought it might be interesting to see what different regions would call each of these...

    So to start - (this is my understanding only...please add what you would call each of these - mostly to see if there is in fact regional differences in Aust & OS)
    I’m not sure that there’s a technically correct answer here!!

    - shallot: a bulb onion (alium cepa) - milder in flavour, often divide into clumps - think French shallot, Golden shallot
    - spring onion (alium fistulosum) is a non bulbing variety of onion. You eat the white base & part of the hollow green stem. (BUT when I lived in Sydney, what they marketed as “spring onions” seemed to be more likely to be an immature shallot)
    - eschallot - I thought these were shallots picked prior to bulb development - such that they closely resemble “spring onions”
    - scallion - I don’t use this term much, but I thought it more generically described onion species that don’t develop a true bulb...which again becomes confusing when some things marketed as scallions are simply immature onions

    What’s everyone else call these things??
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes Oskar.. only in Australia!

    And I've mostly lived in Queensland!

    When I first began being interested in food & cooking (around 55yrs ago), those green stringy things that were new to the market and grown mostly by chinese market gardeners but I never knew what they called them. However, in the shops they were called 'eshallots' or 'spring onions'. I think it depended where you shopped and either derived from the origins of the chinese farmers or some upmarket person who wanted to align themselves with the French, who called them by their French name.

    My understanding is that 'eshallot' is the French name for what we now call a 'shallot'. So Australia dropped the 'e' because that's what we do.

    I remember them being called eshallots, shallots & spring onions.

    Not sure why the name 'spring onion' was dropped, but possibly because it was harder to write on the fruit shop sign or maybe there wasn't enough room on the fruit shop sign to fit the 2 word name & the price. So 'shallot' was used instead because that was the shortened version of its French name. Or maybe it was because 'spring onions' came along later and were a little different.

    Kylie Kwong is just trying to call them what Aussies know them as.
    In USA and maybe other countries on that continent, they are called 'scallions'.

    Now as for the plant that forms a small white bulb, I never saw them until my early 20's when I first saw them being called 'spring onions' which confused me no end. The one forming a small red or purple bulb didn't figure in my life until 30yrs ago. But it was still called a 'spring onion' and was mostly associated with British recipes, although if it was being talked about by a person from overseas, they called it whatever they knew it as.

    So to be clear here are 2 photos of the plant I am referring to as a shallot. And here to their right and to completely confuse the issue is immature garlic!

    shallots.jpg shallots.jpg imature garlic.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  3. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    See what I mean!? So the middle pic to me is a spring onion or scallion assuming it’s truly a non-bulbing variety (or if an immature bulbing shallot variety, an eschallot). But I def recall onions that looked like the immature garlic on the right being marketed as “spring onions” in Sydney. I looked up the onion growing assoc - they’re not much more help either TBH - they simply note that some states like NSW call them different things!
     
  4. Bea

    Bea Active Member Premium Member

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    hahaha in Canada they are simply green onions. here is ecuador everyone but ecuadorans call them scallions. Most ecuadorans dont see the point, especially chives! LOL
    anyway I live in the andes but it is subtropical and we are in 'winter'. definitley extra blanket time at night and sweaters - sometimes socks - early morning.
    anyway, on this thread: I cannot seem to grow scallions/whatever. not from seed or from root ends. I did get a clump awhile back from roots and am still puzzling what i did right!
    all suggestions for this climate are welcome.
     
  5. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Bea, I was only wondering how you and your garden were getting on just the other day when I was planting new chia.
    So to simplify the plant trouble shooting thing, there are 5 main parts to assess.

    Soil, water, light, fertilizer, disease.

    Firstly your soil or growing medium needs to be ok. For onions it doesn't need to be great but they don't like heavy clay until its been mixed with lighter medium.

    Second is water. Now we know onions will grow in water because most of us at some time would have tried the idea of standing our bunch of shallots in a tiny bit of water in a jar to keep them. It work so long as the water level stays down at root height only and its its cha every day or two.
    So from that we know they will grow in soggy conditions but only where the water remains fresh. So if you threw down a shallot in a small trickle of water it would grow and be very happy.
    However if that trickle dried up,it would become very unhappy very quickly. They don't like drying out too much.
    So your growing medium needs to be fresh and moist.

    Third is light. Onions will grow in low light but will get lanky. That's ok if you continue to pick the green part.
    But if they are forced to go from the shop to the bright hot sunshine they won't like that although the new green bit will probably get over it if the white bit lives.
    F growing them from seed and you were successful at getting the sed to germinate in very bright hot sun, then the plant will grow as long as the soil is continuously moist.

    Forth is fertilizer or the food provided by the water and soil or growing medium. A neutral growing medium is sand. It doesn't provide much but many plants survive well enough in it. Most soil is enough for onions although modern onions are more picky that older varieties. They like extra nitrogen but not too much fresh nitrogen like from fresh chicken manure. However they can live quite well in the broken outlet of old septic tanks. So there's quite a range there from not very fertile to extremely fertile. But soil with high mineral content wouldn't be good nor would a growing medium with a pH at either end of the scale.

    Fifth is disease. If you have set seed and they germinated but then slowly died off, I'd say the problem is a fungal issue in the soil or water or the pH is wildly wrong on the acid side. If I remember correctly we've had this discussion before about your pH.
    If you started with bought shallots and set the white parts to grow in some sand (for example), they should grow because sand is inert. If they die in that then you have a much bigger problem.
    There are tiny critters that like onions and grubs of course but usually you can see them. If the onion flesh slowly goes yucky and disintegrates, that is bacterial or fungal. So either use some sort of sprayed on control or don't grow that plant type to stop that disease spreading.


    If I was there and had this problem to solve, I would start a control plant using the white part of a few shallots planted in washed sand and watered with rain water caught in a clean plastic or crockery jug. That's about as neutral as you can get for a plant and it should grow in that for several weeks, sending up many leaves and sending out roots. It may live many months or might slowly die off after many weeks. Note I didn't add fertilizer to this plant. I would use a 3-4inch plastic pot full of washed sand with 5 white root ends cut 1.5inches long from bought shallots, planted in a clump and sitting in a saucer of water which I would top up as it was used. I would make sure it got good light not direct strong sun, but light strong enough that I could read by easily. The leaves should lean towards the light but keep growing.
    I would say this is the minimum requirement for shallots to grow in.

    Give that a try first and get back to us in a couple of weeks with a couple of photos.
    Good luck, Bea. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  6. Raymondo

    Raymondo Active Member Premium Member

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    Hi Clissat , you are a veritable encyclopaedia of knowledge , where did all this come from , work , research , observation? I always look forward to your input , cheers Raymondo. :twothumbsup:.
     
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  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Raymondo thanks for the vote of confidence. :blush:
    It comes from school of life, a few courses and lots of books!.........and a bit of google thrown in for good measure!;)
     

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