CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Lincolnshire farmed shallots – one of the county's little known gems

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 June 2012 | UPDATED: 22:03 21 February 2013

Lincolnshire farmed shallots – one of the county's little known gems

Lincolnshire farmed shallots – one of the county's little known gems

Often thought of as a "little onion" and only purchased by just over 13% of the UKs households , shallots are currently enjoyed by a relatively small number of people. Read more about this food gem here...

Often thought of as a little onion and only purchased by just over 13% of the UKs households (as opposed to onions which are bought by over 85%!), shallots are currently enjoyed by a relatively small number of people. Among those are professional chefs and passionate home cooks and, for them, the store cupboard would not be complete without them.

The Oldershaws, a Lincolnshire-based family, grow shallots on their farm just outside of Spalding. Oldershaws is a family business in the true sense of the word. Founded in 1946 by the late Gilbert Oldershaw MBE the farm is now run by his son Robert and grandson Robert Jnr.



The traditional round shallots, which are grown by the Oldershaws, have a uniquely delicate, sweet, piquant flavour, quite different from that of an onion, and benefit from the areas fantastically fertile soil and perfect climate.

And producing shallots certainly keeps the Oldershaws busy as they have quite an intricate growing process. The growing year starts in February as soon as the soil (hopefully!) starts to warm up. And as a specialist crop, they require a great deal of care from preparing the beds to sowing the seeds to harvesting and storing the bulbs.

Supermarkets demand the best quality and a uniform shape so, from the start, it is important for the Oldershaws to make sure that the number of shallot plants in a field is just right - too many plants and the shallots will be too small, too few plants and the shallots will be too big. But once theyre grown, shallots have fantastic storing qualities so crops grown in areas such as Lincolnshire can be eaten almost all year round.


Shallots are a fantastic addition to a meal and can really lift the dish. My favourite way to have them is to roast them with the skin in a little oil as an accompaniment to hot or cold meats, or to pickle them in vinegar with a couple of bird eye chilli and some pickling spice, says Robert Oldershaw Jnr.



Watch this short video for more ideas on the many ways you can use shallots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K0fAHlienc


Things you probably didnt know about shallots:



  1. Ancient Egyptians allegedly rubbed shallot or onion juice into their scalps as a remedy for baldness.

  2. Peeling shallots can be a complete nightmare unless you let the shallots steep in a bowl of recently boiled water for 10 minutes. Then the outer dry skin just rubs off!

  3. Shallots breathe! The reason that shallots have such amazing storing properties is because it is possible to slow down their intake of oxygen by controlling the temperature of their environment. Put shallots into a cold store and voila cryogenics for the vegetable world!

0 comments

More from Food & Drink

Mon, 17:17

We’ve spoken to award-winning chef Michael Caines MBE to find out more about Lympstone Manor’s wine celebration evenings and when their new vineyard will produce its first bottle of wine

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon Life’s readers and followers have been voting for their favourite food & drink stars and we can now reveal our finalists who will be attending our glamorous ceremony at Sandy Park on November 15

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Check out Michael Caines’ column in the latest issue of Devon Life where you can read more about what this recipe will be perfect with

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for Devon’s Best Sunday Roast. Sponsored by cottages.com

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists of the Pub of the Year award. Sponsored by WBW Solicitors

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Restaurant of the Year award. Sponsored by Westchem

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Local Producer of the Year award.

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal finalists for the Independent Retailer of the Year award. Sponsored by NFU Mutual

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Hotel Restaurant of the Year award. Sponsored by Savills

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Best Food Product of the Year award. Sponsored by Dartmouth / Salcombe Holiday Homes

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Who will be Devon’s Food & Drink Hero? Sponsored by Darts Farm

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search