Leeks are an understated vegetable, usually only used in soups where the flavour gets sadly lost. They are an allium, which makes them a member of the onion family along with garlic, shallots and chives and full of flavour!
Leeks have been part of our menus for centuries. There’s archaeological evidence of leeks being used in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It is now one of the symbols of Wales where it’s commonly used is dishes like leek and potato soup and cock-a-leekie.
If you’d like to try growing your own, check the RHS website for great information. They are a good way to keep your garden productive during Autumn and Winter as leeks are the easiest member of the onion family to grow.
Leeks can be found in markets from September to May, but they are at their best between October and March.
Thanks to greenhouses, nowadays leeks can be bought from year-round.
Leeks should be firm and undamaged. The green parts should be bright and the white unblemished.
Avoid buying trimmed and pre-chopped leeks, they are very expensive and dry out a lot faster. If you’re going for convenience, get frozen (usually sliced) or canned (sliced or whole baby leeks).
Baby leeks tend to be more expensive than fully grown, but the flavour is also more delicate.
Cut the roots and any dried out tops and keep in the fridge up to two weeks inside a container or a bag. Don’t wash until needed or you’ll risk them going bad faster.
Leeks can also be frozen whole or chopped, and will last up to a year if properly protected.
If you’re growing your own, you can keep them in the garden until you need them.