What are Leeks?

leeks

For those who are not familiar with leeks, they looks a lot like onions.  This shouldn’t be a surprise because both herbs belong to the same family.

 

But unlike its cousin, leeks have thicker stalks with a milder and sweeter pungency.  It has green, flat leaves and does not have defined bulbs as onions do but only a slight bulge that’s white and tender at the tip of the roots.

The rest of the leek plant that’s exposed to the air is tough and hard to eat.  What growers do to make the tender and white parts of leek bigger is to mound more soil around the plant.  However, this makes dirt get between the plant’s layers, requiring it to undergo careful cleaning before being cooked.

This is not to say that the tough parts are inedible.  They still can be eaten.  If you feel it a waste to throw them into the trash bin, you can slice and freeze them.  These green, tough parts can later be used to add flavor to stocks, soups and stews.

They can also infuse more flavor to grilled and sautéed meats.

Tagged as “a poor man’s asparagus,” leeks are often used in soups, particularly in vichyssoise.  They can also be eaten raw which makes them great either in salads, added in crudites or eaten with a dip.

Nutritionally, leeks are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, manganese, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and other essential vitamins and minerals.

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