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.