Leeks are a tender, edible member of the lily family. They have a mild onion taste with a slightly sweet edge and look like over-grown green onions (scallions). See how to buy, store, and use seasonal leeks.
Choosing LeeksLook for slender, straight leeks. Leeks more than about 1 1/2 inches wide tend to have tough inner cores. The top green leaves should look fresh - avoid leeks with wilted or yellowing tops.
Storing LeeksStore leeks loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Super fresh leeks from a farmers market will keep up to ten days; otherwise 5 days is a good rule of thumb.
There are a couple of ways to clean leeks.
- Cut into white and light green part of leek lengthwise and rinse under running water.
- Chop or slice leek, place pieces in a colander, and rinse under running water.
- If cooking leeks whole, trim off dark green leaves and root end. Cut an "x" an inch or two into the root end, and soak leek in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Any sand or grit will sink to the bottom of the bowl, so lift leeks out of water rather than pouring contents into a colander.
Leeks handily come with their own handle to hold onto while chopping or slicing them. Leave the dark green leaves attached to hold these long onion-like vegetables in place while you cut them. See this step-by-step guide to chopping or slicing leeks.