Leeks for your belly: what makes leeks so healthy

Leeks are considered the "queen of the onion family": Aromatic and delicious, plus available fresh year-round from regional cultivation – and healthy.

Fresh leek sticks

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The slender leek, also called leek in some regions, is a kitchen classic with endless potential. The fine-spicy vegetable is popular – not only in Baden-Wurttemberg and Germany. It has conquered kitchens all over Europe and almost all over the world.

Video: Leeks – the spicy, delicious and healthy vegetable

Delicious culinary uses for leeks

Everyone knows it as a component of greens. But many people also know it as a grandiose leading actor – for example in tarte flambee, curry or quiche. In addition, it can be grilled, baked, deep-fried, raw or cooked and – it couldn’t be better – is also uncomplicated to handle.

The Allium (onion) plant, which in terms of aroma can hardly deny its relationship with onion, chives, bear’s garlic and garlic, is especially popular in the cold season. Because at low temperatures the plant grows much slower and can develop its fine-spicy aroma even better.

Seasonal calendar: which vegetables are available when?

Which vegetable is in season when?

Leek: slender vegetable

The white-green miracle weapon against autumn and winter dreariness scores points not only for its taste qualities but also for its appearance. Because the outdoor vegetable is quite impressive with its long white stems and the green cover leaf: Its straight stem can be up to 40 centimeters long and up to eight, strong centimeters thick.

The lower part of the leek, which is a root vegetable, is white, because it grows partly like a root in the ground. In the upper area of the stem, the leek or. Leek, on the other hand, green leaves falling apart like a fan. And the allium plant is particularly decorative when it is allowed to grow out of season. Then it develops a beautiful ball of flowers – consisting of hundreds of small purple flowers.

Leeks and other ingredients for a leek soup

Enjoyment off the shelf with leeks

The white part of the leek is particularly popular with German consumers. This is one of the reasons why producers rely on sophisticated cultivation methods. You build dams and plant the seedlings in pre-cut holes. The soil in the root area remains loose and airy and at the same time protects the plant from heavy precipitation and rotting. The best thing about it: in this method of cultivation, the white part of the stem is particularly long.

And by the way, this applies to all types of leeks: There are summer, autumn and winter leeks, which can withstand even the bitter cold and are harvested from October to April. It has a much more intense flavor than summer leeks. And also externally a slight difference is recognizable: Because the winter leek has a stronger shaft than the summer leek and darker, blue-green leaves.

Pieces of chopped leek

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Well-traveled vegetable sticks: History of leeks

Already 2100 v. Chr. Leeks were cultivated in the city of Ur in modern-day Iraq. Even the ancient Egyptians knew the long green stalks. At that time they are said to have strengthened in particular the workers in the construction of the pyramids. In ancient times, leeks were most common in the Mediterranean region, from where they also started their taste triumphal procession across Europe and the world.

By the way, leeks were so sacred in ancient Germanic ritual that they gave their name to a rune. And in the British Isles, it is even said to have served a king as a sign of recognition for his troops and is still one of the national symbols of Wales today.

Video: How to cook leeks

Power vegetable leek

Leeks not only taste extremely delicious, they also do so much for a healthy body. Thanks to the rich deposits of vitamins B1, B2, C, E, K and folic acid, leeks perfectly support the body’s immune system in the fight against emerging infections. Its mustard oils also stimulate the metabolism and have an activating effect – just the thing on dark days.

It also has such important minerals as potassium, calcium, magnesium and the trace elements iron and manganese. Leeks are also one of the few foods high in inulin and are therefore considered the quintessential gut-healthy vegetable. The soluble dietary fiber is known to have positive effects on the intestinal flora, which is why inulin is often taken as a dietary supplement as part of a healthy intestinal flora build-up.

Leek field in winter

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Purchasing& Storing leeks

Fresh leeks can be recognized by their firm, deep green and crunchy leaves. They should look fresh, fan upwards and have no cracks or yellow-brown discoloration. The central part as well as the root base should be bright white and firm. If the leaves have been removed, you can easily tell if the leek is still fresh by looking at the cuts.

Leeks should generally be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. In the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator it stays fresh for a good week. However, the leeks should not be stored next to aroma-sensitive foods such as butter or cauliflower. These take over otherwise the onion-like taste. Therefore, it is best to store the vegetables in a fresh box.

Tip: To freeze the vegetables, first wash them, cut them into rings and blanch them briefly in salted water. In the freezer, it then remains edible for up to eight months.

Kitchen hacks for leeks

  • The first 10 to 15 centimeters of the leek green above the white shaft can be used well and easily. It has a slightly more tangy taste.
  • Cut off the root end and leaf tips before cooking. If the stem is not too dirty, it is enough to cut off only the outer layer.
  • For cleaning, it is best to cut the vegetable in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water.

Preparing leeks correctly

Leek tastes – cut into fine rings – as a spicy garnish in soup, in a creamy sauce as a side dish to meat or simply pure with a few spices and olive oil drizzled from the pan or the oven. It also looks great on the grill and is a perfect alternative to meat in the form of a tasty vegetable skewer.

Especially summer leeks can also be used as raw vegetables or salads. Leeks taste excellent as a topping for quiches, as a topping for casseroles or as a side dish for meat or fish dishes. For this purpose, it is best to use the light and bright green parts of the leek. The outer green leek leaves, on the other hand, are excellent in soups and stews.

Tip: Thanks to its stable consistency, leeks are also suitable for filling with delicious creams, for a wrap or as a roulade.

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