Have you ever tried leeks? They’re a delightful substitution for onions or scallions and hold up much better than onions in stir-fries, casseroles, scrambled eggs and more. I get them often produce box from a local farm and love to find new ways to use them. But I learned the hard way how incredible dirty and gritty this delicious vegetable is…
The first time I cooked with leeks, I decided to make a creamy leek soup. I had a fresh bunch of leeks straight from the farm. I saw quite a bit of sand and dirt around the root area of the vegetable so I rinsed it well under the faucet until it was clean. I chopped it up in little rings and added it to my soup. The soup smelled amazing as it simmered and I finished it up by blending it all up until it was thick and creamy. I could wait to take that first bite! I took a spoonful, blew on it a bit to cool it and tried it. The flavor was amazing! So creamy, onion-y and full of flavor… but THEN… the CRUNCH hit my teeth. Ugh.. what is that?! I tried another bite and my mouth was once again full of sandy grit. I quickly realized that I must not have properly cleaned my leeks. I had a delightful soup ready to enjoy but I couldn’t thanks to the grit that filled my soup thanks to the hidden sand in between the layers of the leek. It was a lesson learned the hard way!
Let me help you avoid this experience and share with you the proper way to clean and enjoy your leeks!
How to Clean Fresh Leeks
Chop the Entire Leek into Spirals
Use a clean cutting board and chop up the leeks into spirals. It will look like large green onions, but you’ll notice as you chop it up that the inside layers are often full of dirt. Go ahead and cut all the way up through the green part too – it’s delicious!
Separate the Spirals
The white parts of the leek are made up of tight layers that you need to separate by hand to properly clean them. Do this now or once you put them in the water.
Fill Your Sink with Water to Rinse
Add your chopped leeks to a clean sink filled half way up with cold water. Using your hands, break up any more spirals that are still in tact and make sure each of the pieces get full rinsed with water. Let them sit for about 5 minutes. The dirt will sink to the bottom of the sink and the leek will float.
Add to a Colander
Scoop out all of the leeks and put them in a colander. Run them under water one more time to get any last bits of dirt off the leeks. If you are using them all now, go ahead and add them to your recipe now. If you need to store them, follow the directions below.
Dry the Leeks
I always add mine to a salad spinner to quickly get the excess water off of the leeks. Or you could dry them on a clean kitchen towel. Once they are mostly dried, add them to a food storage bag and add a dry piece of paper towel to absorb the additional moisture. Store them in your refrigerator and use them in anything you cook. They’ll last like this for about 2 weeks!
How do you like to use leeks? Have a favorite recipe? Share with us in the comments below!
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