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Shallot “Læsøstammen” and chickpea “Assyriska bruna kikärter från Besvirino byn” (right)

Today I sowed the first seeds outdoor, and set the shallots. They are both impatient to go into the soil. If waiting much longer, the shallots will grow smaller, end the chickpeas will mould in their pods. But the soil get depressed (compressed) by me trotting on it. Soil is winter wet, behaving like pot-makers clay if I work it. Then become too hard for roots or worms to penetrate. Thus I’m very cautious when working in the garden in march. I dare not dig, just scratch a little, barely enough to get down the shallot sets and chickpea seeds.

On Læsøstammen shallot I know it was grown on the little isolated island Læsø in 1946. At that time the shallot producers started to gather all shallots from grower, and mix them, before selling or replanting. Only Læsø was not part of that, because of the transport expenses. It has been grown by three generations of farmers on the island since then.

Kroghs skalotteløg” is another shallot I set today. All was set, no left for the photo.

Chickpeas are easy to grow in Denmark, BUT it’s difficult to harvest good seeds :-(
Most seeds moulds just before ripening in autumn. For several years I could harvest no more than I needed for next years sowing. Since I started sowing in late march problems with mould are less pronounced. But I still don’t get a bumper harvest.
Assyriska bruna kikärter från Besvirino byn” I got from a refugee living in Sweden. He lived in a south-eastern mountain village in Turkey. Inhabitants were an Assyrian Christian minority, suffering from the conflict between Turks and Kurds.

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Heritage Sweet White Multiplier Allium cepa var. ? in february frost

Spring onions are well known, but this one could be called winter onions. It’s a multipurpuse little onion, both producing topsets and sweet white shallots. Like other white onions it only stores some months. Taste is very mild and sweet, usefull in salads, wonderfull with tomatoes.

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Heritage Sweet White Multiplier harvested as shallots in late june

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Heritage Sweet White Multiplier topsets in late may

When topsets comes in the ground in autumn, they can be harvested as spring onions in spring. Harvesting later, as the tops bend over, produce good sets for next season.
Next year the beautifull white shallots can be harvested.
Setting these, next year they produce a lot of very small onions. I hope these again produce the good shallots.

Thanks to Martin Longseth in Wisconsin, USA, for this usefull little multipurpose onion.

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Shallot (Allium cepa var. ascalonicum) Kartoffelløg fra Læsø

Ten days ago I harvested my shallots, as most of the tops had bend over. I inspect the roots when harvesting onions. When roots are no more juicy but sloppy, onions are entering the summer sormancy. This facilitate my decision to harvest.

Out of the ground I lay them on netting – this year a metallic gardenchair – for five days in the sun. Now they finish the curing in the garden shed. Sometime in august I will take them into the bottom of our larder, where they store well, dry and warm, easily reached from the kitchen and yet out of the way.

The old shallot are easy to grow and store very well. They are on the small side, but many find the superior taste makes up for the size.

Kartoffelløg fra Læsø is a shallot collected by a member of the swedish seed savers SESAM on the small danish island Læsø. I know some make a distinction between shallots and potatoonions. In Denmark we have never made that distinction, saving ourselfes a lot of discussions. I also grow Kroghfamiliens skalotteløg, grown by the Krogh family a least since the 1970’s.

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The main ingredients

Kale flowerspikes stirfried with fennelshoots and scallops taste wonderfull. It includes a shallot and a garlic. First sautee the shallot and garlic in oliveoil, add the kale flowerspikes, next scallops and then fennel. It’s very quick to prepare, as shoots and flowerspikes are very tender. Add salt, pepper, lemonjuice and applecider vinegar to taste. Serve with bread.

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Stirfried Red Russian with scallops

Kale flowerspikes comes from ‘Red Russian’, fennelshoots are from the perennial bronzefennel, shallot is the danish heirloom “Kartoffelløg fra Læsø” and garlic is ‘Polish hardneck’, but other varieties will be good as well. Applecider vinegar I made some years ago by natural fermenting apples from the garden, added herbs and left it to mature in the refridgerator.

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