Leeks

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Leek is common vegetable used in cuisines around the world. A bundle of leafs is the edible part of the plant that’s often mistakenly known as a stem. Historically there are many different names for the leek and this one comes from old English.

It’s the same family of plant as are the onions and garlics. They have a mild taste and are thus used in salads and fried to add a punchy taste to the dish. They are grown in Texas and throughout the US both commercially and in some gardens.

Trivia

  • The plant comes from the Mediterranean region
  • It’s an important part of Welsh culture
  • The name means herb in old English

Buying Guide

The best way to purchase leek is to look towards its colors and use it to figure out is it ready to be used. You’ll need to make sure that leeks have enough whites and greens and that the both the greens and the white are lush and bright.

When there are yellow tops and when the plant loos withered you should avoid it because that means it’s too old to be used.

Production & Farming in Texas

Leeks are grown exactly like onions since they are a member of the same family and the same rules apply to them as they would to any other onion. They are planted (or transplanted) during late fall or early winter. The plant needs about 120 days to maturity.

Leeks could be found in Texas throughout the year because most of them aren’t planted in the ground directly and thus aren’t affected by the changes in the weather. However, they still have a peak season when they are available from both commercial ventures and small gardens and that’s in early winter.

Soil should be prepared for the growth of leaks by adding organic matter. That’s done by adding mulch and enough water and those will be your biggest expenses in order to prepare for the commercial or at least profitable growth of leeks.

The harvesting can be done in home gardens using simple tools such as spading forks. They are a vegetable that can resist a lot of harsh temperatures. When planted in the spring you could start harvesting in early summer.

Pesticides

There are few pesticides approved to be used on leeks but they are not on any list of vegetables that are considered to be worrisome due to this fact. California and Texas manufactures use the same pesticides on leeks and a comprehensive list of those could be found online.

Geography

There are mentions of leeks in the Bible as a plant that’s grown in Egypt. There are archeological proofs that they were grown in Egypt and that they were used in the Roman Empire. It’s probably the Romans that have brought leeks around Europe and from there it moved to the new world.

At this point, it’s grown everywhere both in small gardens and in large farms where they are made to be sold. This is true for Texas as well, where leeks could be found in abundance.

Packaging

There are many different ways in which leeks could be prepacked. They come in stretchable plastic films, plastic sacks or trays covered with plastic are used to package only the whitened area. They can also be manually tied in bunches which is the easiest way to display them in the market and allow you to choose right then and there.

Eating

Preparing leeks is rather simple and all you need is an ordinary kitchen knife. Start with cutting off the dark green parts and trimming it all the way down to the parts where the color is pale green. These are too hard to eat on their own but they can be saved for stock.

Take the remaining white stalks, and cut of the root. Cut them down to the half of their size lengthwise. After this is done you can run the through the water and make sure that they are clean. Chop them to size based on the dish you’re making.  It’s then ready for using or storing.

Storage

It’s best to store the leeks right after you’ve bought them before washing them or trimming them. Instead you should just put them in a plastic bag and keep them in cold part of the fridge for a week or two. If you can’t do that and you’re storing them after they are cleaned and chopped, they will ask for a shorter period of time.

The difference between the two is between two days and two weeks.

Cooking

Buttered leeks are one of the most popular dishes in Scotland. Here’s a simple recipe for making it:

-The day before you want to serve this dish, cut the leeks from top to root and wash thoroughly under cold running water. Thinly slice them on the diagonal and put into plastic bags and chill until ready to cook.

-To serve, put a large pan over a medium heat, add the butter and let it melt over the base of the pan. Add the leeks and plenty of seasoning and stir to coat in the butter. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and cook the leeks gently for about 15 minutes, stirring half way through until they are tender. Serve with extra butter and a sprinkling of thyme leaves.

Nutrition

One cup of raw leeks contains 54 calories, 13g of carbohydrates, 1g of protein, 2g of dietary fiber, and no dietary fat.  Leeks are high in vitamin A (one cup offers 30% of your daily requirement), and they’re a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, as well as the minerals iron and manganese.

With their high concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, leeks, like other better-researched members of the onion family, offer substantial protection against oxidative stress and cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.

Leeks are a particularly great source of kaempferol, a polyphenol antioxidant thought to protect against heart disease and some types of They’re likewise a great source of allicin, the same beneficial sulfur compound that gives garlic its antimicrobial, cholesterol-lowering, and potential anticancer properties Meanwhile, wild ramps are rich in thiosulfinates and cepaenes, two sulfur compounds needed for blood clotting and thought to protect against certain types of cancer.

 

When Are Leeks in Season in Texas?

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  • August
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Leeks in Texas Directly from the Producer

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