The term shallot is used to describe two different Allium species of plant. The French grey challot or griselle, which has been considered to be the â€œtrue shallotâ€� by many, is Allium oschaninii, a species that grows wild from Central to Southwest Asia. Other varieties of shallot are Allium cepa var. aggregatum (multiplier onions), also known as A. ascalonicum. The botanical name of shallot is Allium ascalonicum Linn and it belongs to the family Liliaceae. Indian names are Ek-kanda-lasun or Gandana (Hindi, Marwari and Punjabi) or Gundhun (Bengali). Shallots probably originated in Asia, traveling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The name â€œshallotâ€� comes from Ashkelon, a city in Israel, where people in classical Greek times believed shallots originated. Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. Their skin color can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent, flavor. This ambiguity[clarification needed] is further confused with scallions, also known as spring or green onions. In some countries, green onions are called shallots, and shallots are referred to by alternative names such as eschallot or eschalotte. The shallot is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion, but has a sweeter, milder flavor. They tend to be more expensive than onions, especially in the United States. They can be stored for at least 6 months. Shallots are extensively cultivated and much used in cookery, in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine. Shallots are propagated by offsets, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, are often planted in September or October, but the principal crop should not be planted earlier than February or the beginning of March. In planting, the tops of the bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and it is a commendable plan to draw away the soil surrounding the bulbs when their roots have taken hold. They should not be planted on ground recently manured. They come to maturity about July or August, although they can now be found year-round in supermarkets. Similar to onions, raw shallots release chemicals that irritate the eye when sliced, resulting in tears. See onion for a discussion of this phenomenon. Onion and shallot output in 2005Shallots appear to contain more flavonoids and phenols than other members of the onion family. In Australia, the foodstuff industry has renamed a number of vegetables. The name shallot has been applied to scallions, normally called spring onions in Australia, and shallots have been renamed eschalotte. The term French shallot has also been used for Allium oschaninii. There is a very specific region of shallot gardening in southeastern Ghana. PurÃ©e and (more rarely) mash are general terms for food, usually vegetables or legumes, that have been ground, pressed, and/or strained to the consistency of a soft paste or thick liquid. PurÃ©es of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g., mashed potatoes or apple sauce. The term is of French origin, where it meant in Ancient French (13th century): purified or refined. PurÃ©es overlap with other dishes with similar consistency, such as thick soups, creams (crÃ¨mes) and gravies â€” although these terms often imply more complex recipes and cooking processes. Coulis (French for "strained") is a similar but broader term, more commonly used for fruit purÃ©es. The term is not commonly used for paste-like foods prepared from cereal flours, such as gruel or muesli; nor with oily nut pastes, such as peanut butter. The term paste is often used for purÃ©es intended to be used as an ingredient, rather than eaten. PurÃ©es can be made in a blender, or with special implements such as a potato masher, or by forcing the food through a strainer, or simply by crushing the food in a pot. PurÃ©es generally must be cooked, either before or after grinding, in order to improve flavour and texture, remove toxic substances, and/or reduce their water content. It is common to purÃ©e entire meals (without use of salt or other additives) to be served to toddlers and babies as sufficient, nutritious meals.