The Lovable Leek Article -
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The Lovable Leek

Peel back its layers and discover why this cousin to the onion is a worldwide favorite.

Part of the onion family, mild-tasting leeks are often used the way onions are--as part of a base of flavors for soups, stews and other long-cooking dishes.

When to Find the Freshest Leeks

Anytime. Leeks store well and don't have a set growing season.

How to Choose Leeks at the Store

Look for leeks with plenty of white coming up from the root. You'll be using only the white and light green parts for cooking.

How to Store Leeks

Leeks can keep for months. Stock them in your root cellar, or wrap them in plastic and keep them in the fridge.

How to Prepare Leeks

The inner layers of leeks trap dirt, so you really do need to wash them well. Cut off the root and the tough green leaves at the top. Then cut the leek in half the long way. Rinse under cold water to wash away dirt.

How to Grow Leeks

Most gardeners start leeks inside, in a sunny, warm room, before transplanting them to the garden. Don't expect instant payoff, leeks are slow growers. See the friendly folks at your local garden center for specific info about planting leeks where you live.

Dec. 16, 2009 1:59 pm
I LOVE leeks! Whenever I make soup I always use leeks instead of onion. They lend such a delicious, mild flavor to the broth and the longer you cook them the more that flavor improves. They also add a nice green color that you can't get with onion.
Apr. 26, 2010 4:30 pm
Does anyone know when is the best time to pick wild leeks and do you have a tasty soup recipe???
Nov. 3, 2010 7:46 pm
Leeks (ramps) are a spring time vegetable. I live near the 49th parallel and we find them in the forest in late May when we are looking for 'puff ball' mushrooms. I wash and chop the ramps (wild leeks) and freeze for later use in soups etc. Fresh they are delicious just fried in a small amount of butter/oil with garlic and served on your favourite vegetable. Enjoy!
Feb. 6, 2011 3:28 pm
That's a pretty picture, but does not show the way leeks look whole.
Feb. 22, 2011 10:49 am
You didn't mention that if you do not pick all of your leeks, they multiply. You can then separate them and you'll have 5 to 6 times what you left in the bed! A friend gave me 4 to plant last spring, I separated and replanted 24 in the fall.
Feb. 27, 2011 8:44 pm
Leeks are my new favorite comfort food. Does anyone know how they grow in the northwest? Specifically western Washington - Puget Sound?
Mar. 30, 2011 5:07 pm
Cris, they grow great in the PNW. Our climate is made for slow growing, cool weather loving leeks. I grow them from seed directly in the garden. You can plant them right now (or earlier) for July or so harvest and then again in late summer for harvest in Dec, Jan, Feb, March. They'll stand for a long time in the garden after they are ready to use, so you can just use them as you need them. Give them a try! They are easy from seeds or you can always look for starts in just about any nursery.
Apr. 26, 2011 6:40 am
Even better, if you love leeks, give a BED to your plants, since, besides multiplying over the year, they will self seed from those beautiful tall pom pom seed heads; you'll have a ton of transplants in no time; over-wintered leeks taste fabulous here in NY, made potatoes & leeks in a pot, butter, light sour cream, hot sauce, worstershire(?) & pepper...yum!
yummy mummy 
May 15, 2011 10:34 am
someone told me that you cannot eat the green part of the leek, is this true? If so, why not?
Jul. 26, 2011 7:08 pm
You're thinking of rhubarb! (Rhubarb leaves are toxic.) Yes, you can eat the green part of a leek. However, it is rather fibrous. Slice VERY thin.
Jan. 29, 2012 3:04 pm
I am wondering..are leeks also called scallions? They look the same.
Jan. 29, 2012 3:06 pm
Question. Can we eat them raw?
Feb. 7, 2012 8:31 am
You can eat them raw, baby ones are best raw. Wash them well, slice them in half (longwise) and wash again. We eat them raw in salads, or anywhere scallions are called for. Leeks are related to scallions but are not the same plant
Feb. 27, 2012 2:35 pm
I make fretata out of the green leaves, Cut the leaves thin, garlic, red bell pepper, parmesan cheese black paper and salt to test mix with two or three egg. mix well and cover on middle heat over the stove for 6 minute, when you see it bonded plif it over for three minute.
Apr. 24, 2012 8:36 am
I have never used leeks before now and they looked so good in the market that I just had to try this vegetable. I'll write my comment after cooking them as suggested some of the writers.
May 13, 2012 9:46 am
Dumb question. Can you just fry them up and eat them?
May 26, 2012 7:11 am
ramps, leeks, whichever name you prefer....the wild ones are delish! i have been making ramp dip for many years. spring time, in sandy soil, my husband digs them up and cuts off the root, the green is edible, also, but i do not keep the green part. because my husband is a seasoned leek hunter, he also knows where to find them in the fall, before the ground freezes. these are hotter than than if you picked them in the spring. wild turkeys like to eat them. momma'88 has a wonderful idea of making a cheese ball w/leeks. you can bet next time i get my hands on 'em i will try that!! i have a hand emersion blender, and i start by using a 24oz carton of sr cream. remove half of the sr cream and add the cleaned ramps, tops removed, 3 cups into the half carton of sr cream, and blend till the ramps are fine. then into a big bowl i add, 3, 8oz blocks of cream cheese, room temp. one tbs mayo, dash of worschestershire sauce, and a splash of vinegar and blend. looks like a creamy milk sh
Mar. 14, 2013 8:03 pm
The perfect "green" food! I cut off the bottom 1/2 inch of an organic leek from the grocery with the roots intact and plant it in my garden. More often than not, I am rewarded with another beautiful leek a few weeks later. Talk about recycling! I LOVE leeks!
Apr. 10, 2013 9:06 am
I also use leeks in place of onions in most soups. And one of my favorite decadent dishes is a leek-potato-gruyere gratin, a recipe I learned at a cooking class at Sur La Table. I shall have to post that on AR. It has become a staple for special dinners in my house. If you have not used them you don't know what you're missing--give them a try. You'll soon become a fan.
Apr. 13, 2013 3:02 pm
I love to roast leeks when roasting other root veggies. I cut the leeks into matchsticks and separate the layers, then sprinkle them over any chopped veggies for roasting (potatoes, winter squash, etc.). They will burn a bit, but come out crispy and so tasty. They are also very very good sauteed with white wine.
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