Of all the onion tribe, shallots take us pleasantly by surprise each year by ripening early in the season. Once the foliage has turned tawny and subsided, gently tug the clumps out of the ground to begin the drying process necessary for ripening. Then, bring them under cover so that air can circulate and the afternoon sun can get at them. In time, rub the soil off the roots, pull the individual bulbs apart and
settle down to a quiet evening cutting off the top growth and hanging the finished product up in nets, or, more admirably, stringing them with raffia.

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