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How To Prepare Leeks

Updated on August 2, 2014

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Cooking with Leeks

Are you cooking with leeks for the first time or are you interested in trying some new leeks recipes? If you have never prepared leeks before, this guide will help you in choosing leeks, cleaning, preparing and using them in recipes.

Leeks have long been a favorite ingredient in dishes throughout Europe, but until recently have gained little recognition in the United States. Now leeks can be found everywhere from grocery store chains to farmer's markets.

The leek is a tasty part of the onion family but much milder in taste than onions. They resemble a green onion on a much larger scale. Leeks are easy to plant and grow the same as onions. They are a wonderful addition to soups and main dishes.

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How To Choose Fresh Leeks

When choosing leeks, look for firmness and fresh green leaves. The bulb should be white and solid and the roots fresh. Avoid leeks with bruising, cracking or browning at the tips.

The smaller leeks are usually more tender than larger leeks which can have a tough center. Leeks are best when used right away, but can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.

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How To Clean Leeks

Because leeks consist of many layers, care must be taken to clean them properly. As they grow soil can become trapped between the layers and a quick washing will not remove it all.

Here are some steps to make sure that your leeks are clean ans soil free:

-Trim the roots and the dark green part of the stalk.

-Wash the remaining leek under cold water trying to remove as much of the dirt as possible.

-Slice leeks and place in a bowl of cold water, moving them around in a swirling motion.

-This will remove any remaining dirt.

-For recipes calling for whole leeks, slice lengthwise down the middle and peel apart layers.

-Rinse under cold water until dirt is removed.

Easy Ways To Use Sauteed Leeks

Mmmm...I can smell these cooking now and don't they look fresh and delicious. A few sliced leeks sauteed in olive oil or butter with a sprinkle of salt and pepper are so good in a variety of ways. Cook over medium heat until the leeks start to caramelize and brown. Try them on burgers, hot dogs, hot sandwiches, in omelettes and vegetable dishes.

It's Easy To Add Leeks To Your Favorite Dishes

  • Sliced in salads



    Stir fries


    Skillet meals

    Pizza topping

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Leeks Are Good For You!

Besides being a good source of Vitamin C, leeks are also high in folate, iron and Vitamin B6. They contain only 27 calories per half cup, are fat free and contain 1 gram of fiber. Leeks are an excellent addition to an all around healthy diet!

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    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I generally use the smaller green onions in my cooking. My husband wanted to try leeks so we purchased them but I found that we preferred the tenderer green onion so we went back that direction.