Onions and shallots have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Shallots have a ton of flavor- raw shallots have strong and pungent flavor (similar to raw onion), and when cooked, they are much milder and slightly sweet. There are over 300 varieties of onions, and they vary greatly by size, shape, and color.
Shallots will keep for several months when kept in a cool, ventilated space. DO NOT store onions or shallots near potatoes, as that will cause spoilage. Sliced shallots may be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
I like to think that every dish I make starts out with a little olive oil and some chopped onions or shallots. Simply use a sharp knife to cut in half and remove the outer skin. From there, you can bake, roast, fry, grill, caramelize, saute, stir fry, or steam your onions/shallots! The options are endless.