Leeks are a member of the onion family and have a subtle, sweet flavor and a delightful color and have long been treasured in Europe and the Mediterranean. Thought to be native to the Mediterranean area and Asia, leeks have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years and have long been popular in Europe. After the children of Israel left Egypt, leeks were one of the foods mentioned in the book of Numbers in the Bible as being greatly missed. In France, the leek is known as poireau, which interestingly enough is also a derogatory term meaning “simpleton.” European chefs call leeks “poor man's asparagus.” Asparagus is actually a distant relative of the leek, residing in the same Lily family as onions.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: Leeks must be very well washed before use; they almost always contain a good amount of grit. Trim off the root end and trim any hard green leaves. Make a long vertical slit through the center of the leek, starting about one inch from the root end and cutting all the way to the green end.
Storing: Leeks will last up to 2 weeks if refrigerated with the roots attached and unwashed. Wrap lightly in plastic to avoid spreading aromas.
Freezing: To freeze leeks, cut into slices or whole lengths. Seal in airtight bags, freeze, and use within three months. To preserve flavor, do not thaw before cooking further. Use frozen leeks for soup within three months.