How to select for best flavor:
Look for large, firm shallots with bulbs about three-quarter-inch thick in diameter. The outer skin should be firm and dry without shriveling. This shows dehydration and age. Avoid shallots that are sprouting. They should be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly closed bag or jar.
Peak of the season:
July through October is the best time to buy shallots. Other times of the year they probably come from storage and the price will be higher.
Shallots are eaten in such small quantities that their main nutritional value is their taste which enhances other nutritious foods.
Shallots are native to the Mid-East and were introduced in France and England by returning crusaders. The subtle flavor of the shallot is now indispensable in French sauces.