Leeks are in the same vegetable family as onions and garlic. They taste sweeter and milder than onions. Leeks are made up of elongated, white bulbs with broadening and darkening green leaves at their tops. The bulb comes to an end at a point, often with roots still attached. The bulbs and lighter green leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The darker green leaves are much tougher and along with the roots, should be removed before eating or cooking.
Best Storage Practices:
Leeks should be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Leeks should be stored at 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. If stored properly, leeks can last 1-3 months.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:
Leeks are sweeter and milder than onions and can be eaten raw. If cooking, wash before steaming, boiling, or pan-frying. Any recipe that calls for onions can be easily replaced by leeks.
Select only crisp and fresh looking leeks. Fresh leeks are ones with white bulbs without discoloration and dark green tops without wilting.
Why it’s Good to Eat:
- Good source of Vitamin C
- Good source of dietary fiber and other minerals
- Leaf tops are a good provider of beta-carotene, like carrots!
When it’s in Season:
Leeks typically are harvested in the late spring through the late fall. Leeks generally don’t like summer heat, but are often available because of their long storage life.
How it’s Harvested:
Leeks grow in clumps and are harvested in trench-shape patches. The bulbs are buried deeper than onions and can be harvested by loosening the soil and pulling from the tops.
Leek Soup—Boil 2 quarts of water, leeks, celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Boil with oil, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, and parsley.
Leek Salad—Steam leeks (bulbs and leaves) until tender. Slice bulbs and arrange atop leaves. Drizzle oil, salt, pepper, oregano on top of tomatoes, leek bulbs, and cucumbers.