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Today I am going to share with you how to clean leeks!  Also, wait, what is a leek? :P No need to Google, I am going to share everything you need to know! :-)

How to Wash a Leek...and Wait, What is a Leek?

Leeks in their full glory right before they are harvested!

What is a Leek?

So lets get into it…leeks are a member of the onion family. If you have never seen one you can imagine an oversized green onion with wide, green leaves and a fat,white stalk and roots at the bulb end. Another good visual would be to think of gigantic scallions!

fresh whole Leeks on a white background

The humble leek!

Leeks will give your dish a very subtle yet delicious onion-y taste. If you think about it, you may have heard of leek potato soup which is widely popular here in America. When you are shopping at your local market you will want to select leeks that have crisp, brightly colored leaves with no blemishes on the stalk. It is important to buy leeks that are smaller than 1-1/2 in diameter as they will be more tender than their larger counterparts!

Video About How to Clean Leeks

Fabulous Storage Tip: The good news is that you can refrigerate leeks in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. You can prep your leeks over the weekend and use them accordingly during the week. Planning ahead of time saves you time in the long run and I can attest to it making a huge difference for me personally!

The Nutritional Benefits…

As you guys may know I follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his Nutritarian lifestyle. :) He uses an acronym “G-BOMBS” which is an easy way to remember the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet to eat to promote a healthy lifestyle. This acronym stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. Today we are focusing on the “O” in this acronym which stands for Onions.

raw Leek in detail from a market

The Allium family of vegetables is made up of onions, leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions. This group is known for supporting our cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as having anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, similar to the isothiocyanate (ITC) in cruciferous vegetables, organosulfur compounds are released when onions are chopped, crushed or chewed. That is right! By chewing, you are breaking down the cell walls and at the same time releasing these healing properties!

But wait — There’s more! :-) Can you tell I’m excited? Haha. Leeks also are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. Leeks are also a good source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Why I Love Leeks

Cheri holding a cartoon leek

Cheri holding a cartoon leek, the rarest of all leeks :P

Why did I feel compelled to tell you about leeks? First of all I think they’re just a really cool food, but hey, I think that about pretty much all the foods. I found my love for leeks specifically while living overseas for a year in Aurillac, France back in 2008. Back then is when I really got into blogging, and learning to cook, and I started to read David Lebovitz’ blog.

When I came home, to my surprise leeks were not as popular here in America as they are in France or other European cities. The French use them SOO much in their recipes, so when I got home, I was surprised that lots of people don’t know much about them.

The green onion, better known as a scallions, are the equivalent to the leek here in the states as far as popularity. Either of these onion varieties are WELL worth adding to soups and other dishes alike for a sweet and mellow subtle burst of onion-y flavor. I love them in stir-fries as well!

Okay — Now it is time to get into how to wash these things!!

Fear not, dear Reader! Here are your step-by-step instructions…in case you didn’t watch the video above :P

At first glance you may find leeks to be intimidating…

Warning: Leeks do require a tiny bit more preparation than your standard onion but I think you will still love them once you try them out. :)

how to clean leeks

Chop off the rough, dark green upper leaves and discard.

how to clean leeks

Leeks are often dirty in between the layers.

how to clean leeks

Slice the leek lengthwise.

how to clean leeks

To get in between these layers…

how to clean leeks

Chop the leek into small pieces…

how to clean leeks

Add the chopped leeks to a large bowl full of water and agitate the leeks to remove dirt.

how to clean leeks

See how much dirt settles on the bottom? Repeat as necessary until leeks are to your desired cleanliness.

how to clean leeks

Drain and use in your recipe… Now you have clean leeks!

Last but not least….A cooking tip!

How to Wash a Leek...and Wait, What is a Leek?

The best way to cook them:

To bring out the most flavor from our little onion, the best method is to “sweat” them, which means cooking them in butter and/or oil over pretty low heat until they get soft, but not browned. If you are looking for a healthier option you can use coconut oil or just water saute them. You just have to keep a close eye when water steaming to ensure they don’t burn. :)


QUESTION: Is there any vegetable you always wanted to know about or want more tips on preparing?

Share with me in the comments below. :-)

Happy Leek Hunting!