Canning Substitution: Shallots vs Onions, Garlic vs Elephant Garlic #718510

Asked August 28, 2020, 11:35 AM EDT

Due to some known food allergies involving onions and garlic, we have been trying to find out if there would be any known danger (or extra required steps) to substituting shallots for onions and/or elephant garlic (which we know is actually a type of leek) for garlic in canning recipes. They seems to be very similar ingredients, but we obviously want to be safe about making accommodations. I started on the NCHFP site, which suggested we try local university extensions first. Many thanks in advance!

Ingham County Michigan

Expert Response

You do not say what you are canning.  I cannot recommend any substitutions in a research-based recipe.  Research -based recipes are carefully pH balanced so they can be preserved using home canning techniques.
The shallot is in the Allium family just like onions. The shallot is the allium cepa. So if you are allergic to onions you may have a reaction to the shallot as well.  Another resource indicated when shallots are cooked they lose their flavor and therefore should be used  in fresh recipes.
According to Cooks Illustrated ( elephant garlic should not be substituted for garlic.
According to Wikipedia, elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is still in the onion family therefore if you are allergic to onions you will probably have a reaction to the elephant garlic as well as garlic.
If you are intent on making whatever product you are discussing, DO NOT can it!  Freeze it instead.
I cannot recommend the substitutions because all of the foods are in the onion famiy and you said you were alllergic to onions.
I also cannot recommend the substitutions because a research -based recipe is base on the pH of the foods involved.  The pH level of the product determines the home food preservation technique that needs to be used.  The pH level is necessary in home food preservation because Clostridium Botulinium flourishes in a pH level above 4.6 creating the Botulism toxin.
If you have additional questions, lease be sure to ask.  You can also call 877-463-9882.
Christine Venema Replied September 06, 2020, 11:34 AM EDT

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