An ideal vegetable for eliminating
It has a very high potassium content and is very low in sodium: this gives it natural diuretic properties. It stimulates and regulates bowel movement thanks to the gentle, soluble fibers (including inulin) in the white part that everyone can eat. Tougher fibers are found in the “greens”.
It also contains:
- provatimin A or beta-carotene
- numerous antioxidants (flavanoids, carotenoids, etc.)
Leeks are also:
- a source of vitamin B9 (for cellular renewal, particularly important for pregnant women for fetal development, for growing children, and for convalescents).
- a source of vitamin B6 (for energy, nervous system health, protein synthesis, red blood cell formation, and fatigue reduction)
- a source of vitamin C (for the immune system, collagen formation, energy, the nervous system, iron absorption, and fatigue reduction)
The sulfur compounds and antioxidants they contain may have a protective action against certain cancers.
Did you know? The colder the season, the deeper the color, indicating a higher chlorophyll and anthocyanin content, which in turn are signs of a high vitamin content.
When is the right
time to eat it?
Winter and spring
Leeks are available all year round, but their high season is winter. Early varieties are available only in spring.
Vegetable patch or
Leeks are perennials but are grown as annuals that like a cool, well-drained soil rich in humus. The plant is highly resistant to cold.
To learn everything you need to know about growing leeks, read the page on growing tips.
Choose your leeks well:
- The stalk must be firm and shiny white, without any brownish patches.
- The leaves must be bright green and not wilted, yellowish or dry.
- Thick ones are as tender as the thins ones.
How to store your leeks:
- In the refrigerator: 1 week in the vegetable drawer for early leeks. Winter leeks can be kept for longer.
- In the freezer: cut the stalks into slices and blanch them beforehand.
How to prepare leeks
Wash your leeks thoroughly with plenty of water, separating the leaves to remove soil and sand. Then remove the roots and cut into thin slices, or any other way you want (julienne, thicker segments, strips, etc.)
Whole, white and/or green, leeks are normally eaten cooked and can be served in many ways. Young leeks are tenderer and can be eaten in a salad.
- 10 minutes: in boiling water or steamed
- 15 minutes: sautéed, braised or in a wok
Leeks go well with…
Cooked: A meat stew with turnips, carrots and potatoes. They also go well with fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, etc.), in a baked dish with cabbages (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), in a vegetable hash (with peas, for example), and with curries, chicken or seafood. They’re great for adding extra flavor to stewed dishes.
Anti-waste tip! If you don’t like the green part that is more fibrous, don’t throw it away. You can use it later to make a soup, just adding a few potatoes.
Leeks are excellent for babies from the age of 6 months; However give them just the white part (with a potato) which has a softer taste and is easier to digest.
And everyone else
Leeks are rich in ocalic acid, which might cause problems for people suffering from urinary stones (lithiasis). If this is your case, ask advice from a health-care practitioner.
As leeks are rich in inulin, they may also cause digestive discomfort for people with irritable bowels. It is best to reduce quantities or avoid them while waiting for the symptoms to pass.
Where do they come from?
Origins and varieties
Origins: Indonesia, Turkey, France and Belgium are the main producers, while Germans are the biggest consumers. It is also the “national vegetable” of Wales.
Varieties: Several varieties exist, from “giant” leeks to the smallest ones. The green leaves can sometimes be blue-gray or steely in color. They are available from early spring through to autumn.