Leek Blanching


In the kitchen, blanching means to cook quickly in water.  In the garden—more specifically in growing leeks—it means an entirely different thing.

Leeks are grown for the succulent, white part of the plant which has not been exposed to the sun.  However, it is only a very small portion compared to the entire length of the plant which is tough and usually thrown away.

To make this white and tender portion bigger, gardeners resort to different strategies all of which points toward the same thing: to blanch the plant.

Blanching then, means to increase the white portion of the leek by adding more soil to it.  There are two traditional ways to do this.

One, gardeners mound or hill soil around the base of the plant as it grows.  Take note though, that very young plants will rot when mounded too early.

You can also blanch leeks by planting them in trenches.  Dig a hole (about six inches) and cover the roots just enough with soil.  The base of the plant must still be below the original ground level.

As the plant grows, cover the hole little by little until such time comes that it becomes level again with the original level of the ground.

It is also said that blanching leeks improves its flavor as well.  You can also cut off the top portion of the leaves in order to encourage the stalks to grow bigger.  It is best to do this in the middle of summer.