Leeks are a member of the same lily family as onions but are a slightly sweeter and not as overwhelming in recipes. European chefs actually call leeks “poor man’s asparagus,” as the leek is a distant relative of asparagus. Don’t be fooled by this dismissive description – the leek actually has many positive health benefits you do not want to miss out on! Leeks are a great source of vitamin A, C, and folate, which translate to vision, immunity, and cell regeneration. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked and incorporated into salads, soups and many other favorite dishes in place of (or in addition to) onions.
Select leeks with as much light green and white coloring as possible that are crisp and firm. Do not choose leeks that are withered or have any yellow discoloration present. Wash them well and remove any roots and hard green leaves before preparing. Horizontally slice the leek from above the root to the green end and submerge in a bowl of cold water to remove debris. Alternatively, feel free to slice into thin strips and clean the same way.
Pro Tip: Store leeks in the refrigerator for a maximum of two weeks in tightly wrapped containers to prevent the spread of aromas from the leeks. You can also freeze your leeks in airtight bags for up to three months. Do not thaw leeks before preparing to enjoy maximum flavor!
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