Shallots widely vary in size from small to large, depending on the variety, and have an elongated, oblong shape with a rounded center, tapering to a point at both ends. The bulbs are encased in a dry and papery, thin skin that flakes when touched and ranges in color from copper, gold, pale pink, to red. When the papery layers are removed, multiple clusters of cloves are found divided into individually wrapped segments similar to garlic. Small Shallot varieties average 2 to 3 cloves, and larger varieties typically contain 3 to 6 cloves. The firm, dense, and semi-dry flesh is off-white to translucent with light purple or red rings. Shallots are aromatic with a complex blend of spicy, sweet, and pungent flavors. When raw, the cloves are crisp and astringent, and when cooked, they develop a delicate, sweet, and savory taste with flavors reminiscent of garlic.
Shallots, botanically classified Allium cepa, are multi-cloved bulbs belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family along with onions, garlic, and leeks. There are many different varieties of Shallots, and approximately thirteen varieties are commercially cultivated around the world in the modern-day. Within these varieties, there are two subgroups, Western Shallots and Eastern Shallots, that vary slightly in appearance and flavor. Shallots are an ancient crop that has been used for thousands of years in culinary and medicinal applications. The name Shallot was derived from Ascalon, which is an ancient city in