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Choosing and Cooking Leeks

Cooking tips for the caring cook.


Choosing Leeks

Choose leeks with bright-green leaves and a white bulb. Store unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Leeks must be well cleaned, as they are laden with sand. If using whole leeks, cut off roots, make an "X" in the bulbs and soak in a mixture of water and one tablespoon of vinegar for 30 minutes. If using sliced leeks, slice in half lengthwise and put each leaf under cold running water.

Two ways to clean leeks:

  • Cut off dark green top and discard or save for stock. Trim root end, leaving base intact so that leek remains in one piece. Starting 1/2-inch from base, slit leek through the other end; give it a quarter turn and repeat, so the leek is quartered and the root end is intact. Soak the leek in cold water or rinse it under running water, gently spreading the leaves to remove any grit and dirt.
  • Cut leeks in strips of pieces as directed in your recipe. Swish pieces in bowl of cold water to dislodge dirt and grit. Lift pieces from water, leaving dirt at the bottom of the bowl.

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