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!
     

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