Friday, October 16, 2015

TIPS: Leeks

Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.

Tips for Preparing and Cleaning Leeks:

Leeks can be quite sandy, so careful washing is important. Here’s how to properly clean a whole leek.
  • Start by removing the outer layer of white (unless it is very fresh or from your own garden).
  • Trim the base with a sharp paring knife to remove all the roots.
  • Make an incision in the middle of the white stalk and cut toward the green tips, severing the leek in two, but with the bottom still intact.
  • Wash well under cold running water, pulling the leaves apart to rinse well between them.
  • Drain, green tips down, in a colander for a few minutes.

If the recipe calls for chopped leeks, it is best to chop them and then wash under cold running water. Allow to drain well before using.


Store leeks in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in fridge; do not wash until you are ready to use them. Or chop to desired cooking size and freeze.  Being a cold weather vegetable, leeks prefer the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the bottom crisper drawer.  Properly stored, leeks can last about a month!

 A Few Quick Serving Ideas: 
  • Healthy sauté leeks and fennel. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.
  • Add finely chopped leeks to salads.
  • Make vichyssoise, a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.
  • Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring.
  • Braised leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.
  • Add sliced leeks to your favorite omelet or frittata recipe.

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