How to store Leeks
Leeks are an underutilized vegetable that can add a ton of flavor, especially so in combination with Onion & Garlic. It adds so much to Soups, Stews (Frozen, Dehydrated or Fresh), used Fresh or Sautéed for Salads, and used in Mashed Potatoes, Ramen or Instant Noodles. This article will show you How to store leeks.
I always try to have Leeks on hand and process them so that I always have a supply of both Frozen & Dehydrated Leeks to toss into certain dishes. It’s fairly quick and easy, especially with a food processor and can add so much to a dish.
What are leeks
Leeks are a member of the Allium Family. Which include vegetables like Onion, Garlic, Scallions, Chives and Shallots. They look like giant Scallions or Green Onions. The edible portions of the Leek are the white base of the leaves, the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves.
The darker green tops can be chopped and Dehydrated or Frozen. Then added to certain dishes where they will simmer for along time to soften.
Leek tops are much more tougher. Which makes them more ideal for dishes where they can simmer a while Fresh, Frozen or Dehydrated.
They are used in various dishes from Rice or Potato dishes, Salads, Soups, Stocks or Broths, and on their own as a side dish. They also pair well with Bacon, Cream, Lemon and Poultry.
What do leeks taste like
Leeks taste like a cross between Sweet & Green Onions but much more milder in taste and herbal undertones. The more you go into the green the less sweeter and more bitter the leek taste.
How to clean Leeks
Most times Leeks are used thinly sliced to be tossed into certain dishes. In this case it is best to run the Leeks through a food processor fitted with a slicing blade to slice the leek thinly. Then emptied into a bowl and filled with water a few times to wash the Leek from any dirt. Either frozen, dehydrated, or used fresh or sautéed.
In the case of Roasting or Braising Leek then chop the dark green part off and slice the Leek in half lengthwise. Separate the leaves and run under cold running water to rinse away any dirt trapped between the layers.
Thinly Sliced Leeks
By the far the best method is to run the Leeks through the Food Processor fitted with a Slicing Blade. This will process the Leeks fairly quick.
You may want to just chop off 3 – 4 inches of the top Dark green part and save this for Dehydrating or Freezing to use for Bouquet Garni since this part is very tough.
Pass the Leek through the Small opening into the processor fitted with a Slicing Blade to thinly slice the Leek.
Place the sliced Leek into a bowl and fill with Water a few times to wash. From here the sliced Leek can be used Fresh, Sautéed, Frozen, Blanched and Frozen or Dehydrated.
How to freeze leeks
Place thinly sliced Leek directly into Ziploc bags to be frozen. Anytime you need some Leek, just grab some frozen Leek and optionally chop into smaller pieces to add to dishes where the Leek will be cooked.
Fill a Ziploc with thinly sliced Leek, squeeze out any air and freeze. No need to blanch if they will be used up within a few months.
Do you need to blanch Leek
Most will state to blanch Leek before freezing for long term storage. I don’t really do this and never noticed any flavor or texture loss, even 2 months later.
However, blanching is a method where certain enzymes (Polyphenol Oxidase & Peroxidase) are made inactive. That would otherwise cause loss of product quality in terms of Flavor & Texture. For longer storage it’s best to blanch the Leeks before freezing.
How to blanch Leek
- Bring a pot of Water to a boil
- Add the sliced Leek into the pot and mix.
- Wait for the Pot to return to a boil and count 30 seconds.
- Strain the leeks out and rinse under very cold water. Strain again and let them dry or pat dry.
- Place on a baking sheet to freeze.
- Once frozen, gather the leek together and place into a Ziploc bag and squeeze excess air out.
How to dehydrate leeks
Dehydrate Leek at 130 F. It takes about 4 hours or a bit longer, depending on how thinly sliced they are. Empty out unto a tray once dehydrated and crush before filling a jar up to have dehydrated Leeks handy anytime you want.
Place the washed thinly sliced Leek on a Dehydrating tray. Dehydrate at 130 F for 4 hours or longer.
Empty into a tray and crush by hand. Remove any large pieces that may not be fully dehydrated.
Fill a jar up with the dried leek and store along with other Herbs & Spices on your spice rack.
Bouquet Garni with Leek
Chop about 3-4 inches off the top and place into a Ziploc bag to freeze and used for Bouquet Garni. Whenever you need to make a Bouquet Garni take a Leek Leaf to use as a wrapper or sachet. Two or more Leaves can be overlapped if you need more space. Then Herbs can be added such as Parsley, Bay Leaves, Thyme, Rosemary and then rolled up and tied to simmer in liquids and then removed.
Health Benefits of leek
Leeks are high in Magnesium, Vitamins A, C, and K. Rich in linoleic acid and various amino acids. Mainly glutamine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, arginine and alanine; and organic acids like ascorbic acid and malic acid.
Consumption of Leeks causes a reduction of the risk of hypercholesterolemia, blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and platelet aggregation which helps in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Leeks also have antimicrobial activity against various bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Recipes with Leek
It’s that little bit of something extra that Leeks can contribute to a dish. Below are some of the recipes here on JAHZKITCHEN where Leeks are used.
Add to various Rice Bakes for Flavor and Greenery.
Works nicely with Onion & Garlic and adds nice Greenery.
Works very well in Chop Suey.
A key Flavoring ingredient in instant noodles like Mr. Noodles or Ichiban.
Just add some leeks to the water while it comes to a boil.
Used in place of Napa Cabbage or added in with Napa Cabbage.
Can be added to Mashed Potatoes and various other Potato Dishes.
Other dishes include Chowders, Scalloped Potatoes, included with Homemade Sauerkraut, Coleslaw or a side dish on their own as Braised or Roasted Leeks. They can also be used as a herb for seasoning blends.