Get The Most Out of Your Leeks from Backyard Eats
When It’s Ready
- You may begin harvesting leeks when the stem reaches 1” in diameter
- Unlike onions, the tops of leeks do not turn brown or die back to indicate readiness for harvest
- Loosen the soil around each plant with a spading fork and lift each plant from the roots
- Trim away roots, without cutting into the stem of the leek
- You may also gently pull leeks from the soil as long as you do not break the stem
Leeks have a mild, sweet onion-like flavor. They are often used in soups, stews, and casseroles. Leeks are typically eaten cooked and can be boiled, sautéed, roasted, or grilled. They can also be used as a substitute for onions in many dishes. The white and light green parts of the leek are the most commonly used, while the dark green parts are often discarded or used to flavor stocks and broths.
This vegetable is best when used fresh, but here are a few tips for preserving and storage.
Pre-Cooking Care: Before cooking, wash any loose soil between the fan-like leaves or outer layers of the leek
Fresh Storage: At 32 –41F, 95 -100% humidity. Keep in an airtight bag in the fridge for 1-2 months.
Long-Term: Leeks can be stored in the freezer, blanched, or dried for long-term use.
Cooking With Leeks
- Leek and Potato Soup: Sauté sliced leeks with butter, then simmer them with diced potatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs until the potatoes are tender. Blend until smooth for a comforting and creamy soup.
- Leek Quiche: Sauté chopped leeks until softened, then mix them with eggs, cheese, and cream. Pour the mixture into a pie crust and bake until golden and set. Enjoy a delicious and savory leek-filled quiche.
- Leek Risotto: Sauté sliced leeks in butter or olive oil, then cook Arborio rice with vegetable broth, white wine, and the sautéed leeks. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese for a creamy and flavorful risotto.
- Grilled Leeks: Slice leeks lengthwise, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until tender and slightly charred. Grilled leeks make for a tasty and unique side dish or addition to salads and sandwiches.
- Leek and Mushroom Stir-Fry: Sauté sliced leeks with mushrooms, garlic, and your choice of additional vegetables. Add soy sauce or a stir-fry sauce of your choice for a delicious and savory stir-fry.