Scientific NameAllium porrum (Lilliaceae family). A herbaceous plant, originating from the world’s great civilisations - Assyrian, Egyptian and Chinese.
Common nameLeek, “poor man’s asparagus”
Varieties and seasons
The leek production is concentrated in temperate regions. France is the leading producer of leeks in Europe, before Belgium and the Netherlands.
Leeks are found throughout the year in stores, with a seasonal peak from November to February.
There are several varieties, including ”Le Géant” and smaller varieties.
Its green leaves are sometimes blue/grey or steel in colour. The colder the season, the deeper the colour: leeks contain chlorophyll and anthocyanin, which indicate a high level of vitamins.
Indonesia is the leading producer of leek, following by Turkey, France, Belgium, China and Poland.
Leeks can be eaten whole (white and green together), in stews for instance. The white base or “leak white” is also delicious eaten alone.
Eaten in salads with a vinaigrette or warm in purees and stews, the leek is extremely popular in Europe.
Nutritional values (per 100 g)
*Ciqual 2013 **Recommended daily intake
It is very high in potassium and very low in sodium, giving it some diuretic properties.
Leeks are also known for regulating bowel movements. They are an excellent source of ballast, gentle and not aggressive, to suit even the most sensitive of digestive systems. The leek whites contain some highly soluble fibres that everyone can eat. The “green” part contains the toughest fibres.
When it comes to portions...?
- a child portion: a 5 cm-long piece
- an adult portion: three 5 cm-long pieces
Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations
- Leeks and stew: by lightening the usual fatty content of the meat in stews, leeks help improve the digestion. Combined with the other vegetables used in this national French dish – turnips, carrots and potatoes – leeks naturally complement the benefits of this recipe, which includes fibre, vitamins A, C, B9, proteins, fat, iron, etc.
- Leeks and “fatty” fish: large or small mackerel wrapped in the leaks is a great way to cook fish in a natural and edible parcel that enhances its digestibility. The leeks balance the benefits of this recipe, while emphasising its various flavours.