Darth Vader
Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova

Leeks are a member of the onion family, but their flavor is much more refined, subtle and sweet than that of regular onions. Native to the Mediterranean region and Asia, leeks have been cultivated for over 3, 000 years and have long been popular in Europe as well.

European chefs ironically call leeks "the poor man's asparagus". Asparagus is actually a distant relative of leeks and is in the same plant family as lilies.

Wild leek is a different variety of leek. It is much smaller in size, close to the small types of seed onions or shallots. Unlike ordinary onions, wild leeks have a very strong aroma and taste. They also have many culinary uses and recipes with leeks are countless.

History of leeks

Leeks have been valued since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who spread its flavor throughout Europe. In Egypt, when Pharaoh Cheops wanted to show his gratitude, he gave various gifts, including 100 bunches of leeks. Leeks were also present in offerings to the gods of shadows and sleep.

It is one of the symbols of Wales, where every year on St. David's day people decorate their hats with it. Legend has it that this saint ordered Welsh soldiers to stud their helmets with it to distinguish themselves from the enemy in battle with the Saxons. For the inhabitants of Wales, the leek is a symbol of strength, masculinity, the will to win in battle. On this day, people necessarily prepare dishes with leeks and some even decorate their homes with them.

Composition of leeks

Leeks contain dietary fiber, as well as folic acid, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. They are rich in vitamin B1, B6, copper, magnesium and they lack any fat. It contains more protein than onions and its essential oils contain sulfur. It also contains sugar, carotene, phosphorus and iron.

Summer leeks

Types of leeks

Leeks are divided into two main groups, depending on the season and the length of the stem:

Winter leeks - grow from November to April and have dense and large heads. They belong to the so-called European group, which is widely grown in the countries of Northern, Western and Central Europe. Winter leeks are very cold-resistant.

Summer leeks - grow from May to June. They are fine and delicate, have much lower cold resistance and shelf life. Most often, summer leek varieties are smaller than winter ones.

Selection and storage of leeks

Leeks are available year-round in most stores, but their peak season is from September to the end of April. Leeks are usually sold in bundles. When buying them, it is necessary to choose the ones that are sold unpackaged and those whose roots and dark green leaves are not cut, since this is a prerequisite for a longer shelf life.

Leeks wrapped in plastic wrap are at greater risk of rotting. When choosing leeks, one should also look for a clean, white bulb with at least two to three inches of white part and firm, tight, dark green tops. It is also necessary to choose younger leeks, because they have a more delicate flavor and texture. It is better to choose thinner leeks, with a cylindrical shape, rather than ones that are large and swollen.

It is necessary to avoid these leeks, which have seeds, since they are a prerequisite for its interior to be harder and unpleasant to taste.

Leeks emit an aroma that can be absorbed by other foods in the refrigerator, so it is best to store them before cooking by wrapping them in plastic wrap, which will retain the odor and moisture. Also, leeks should not be washed or chopped before storage.

Depending on how fresh the leeks are, after purchase, in addition to the refrigerator, they can be stored in other dark and cool places for five days to two weeks. Cooked leeks are also stored in the refrigerator, they should be covered and they can be used within one to two days. It is not suitable to store leeks by freezing or canning.

Cooking leeks

The taste of leeks is considered more refined than that of regular onions. Leeks are the main ingredient of the famous French soup called Vichyssoise. This is one of the types of onion that is used in almost all fresh vegetable dishes, as it is practically available all year round.

It is used raw in salads and it is widely used as a filling in filo pastry pies, some types of onion pies and cabbage pie, kebabs with leeks and various winter salads. Leeks go well with onions, rice, meat and white cheese. Pork with leeks and steaks with leeks are classics of the genre. The same goes for Winter Leek Filo Pastry Pies.

Benefits of leeks

It is easier to process by the body in comparison with the ordinary onion. Leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic and anti-arthritic properties. Leeks are said to be an extremely powerful antioxidant, which successfully fights free radicals.

Experts recommend consuming leeks as a preventive measure against stomach cancer. Leeks are also healthy because they thin the blood, preventing the formation of blood clots. They are extremely suitable for conditions such as diabetes, chronic bronchitis, infections and atherosclerosis. They are also recommended for colds.

Leek cream soup

The benefits of consuming leeks do not end here. They strengthen the resistance forces of the body; maintains water balance; makes the skin smoother and healthier; supports muscle activity; helps to heal wounds faster.

If you add leeks to your dinner, they will contribute to losing extra weight. This happens due to the fact that leeks have a high water content, a minimal amount of carbohydrates and a lot of fiber. In addition, a leek salad will provide you with useful nutrients and minerals such as iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are also beneficial for anemia. They are best consumed with vegetables and lighter foods.

Leeks improve digestion because they contain prebiotics. They contribute to the easy and correct absorption of food by the body. If you eat them for dinner, they guarantee a restful sleep without stomach problems such as bloating, gas and heaviness in the stomach.

It is useful to eat leeks against fluid retention. They contain sodium and potassium, which promote detoxification of the body and release of excess fluids.

Leek juice is recommended by folk medicine as an effective remedy against constipation. In the evening before going to bed, drink 1/2 cup of leek juice

You can eat leeks if you feel strong mental or physical fatigue.

The healing properties of leeks also extend to people suffering from gout. It has been proven that they alleviate the condition.

Leeks promote the proper functioning of the liver and improve appetite.

If your job requires a lot of talking, singing and generally using your voice, eat leeks because they ease the vocal cords.

It is believed that leeks also have a beneficial effect on the skin by making it smooth and elastic, supporting the rapid healing of wounds.

Harms from leek

Leeks should not be consumed in pathological conditions of the kidneys and they are not recommended for people who suffer from gastritis and ulcers. To kill the sharp taste of the vegetable, it can be blanched in boiling salted water beforehand.

If you don't have these problems, however, you can safely consume them.

You will be enchanted by the pleasant taste of Leek Soup, Leek Stew and Chicken with Leeks.


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