In Season: Leeks

Leeks might not be something you experiment much with. I didn't know what to do with them for the longest time, but a little research turned up some endless possibilities. Take a step beyond the same old onions and try these instead.
leeks

Leeks might not be something you experiment much with. I didn't know what to do with them for the longest time, but a little research turned up some endless possibilities. Take a step beyond the same old onions and try these instead.

What, Where & When

Leeks look like giant scallions and are relatives of onions, shallots, garlic and, yes, scallions. They have a fresh and mild onion flavor and, when cooked, they become sweet and tender.

Considered a sacred plant in ancient Egypt, leeks have been cultivated in the United States since the 1700s. They have a white, cylindrical root and sturdy, flat green leaves that fan out from their tops. Both the green and white parts are edible, but the very tops can get tough and you'll want to trim them away. The layers of leaves tend to pick up a lot of sandy soil as they grow, so it’s important to wash them REALLY well -- a mouthful of sand will ruin any recipe. To wash, slice down the center lengthwise and rinse under cool, running water. Or chop them into rings and soak them a large bowl of water -- swish them gently and all the sand will sink to the bottom of the bowl.

You can enjoy leeks for months; prime season runs from early June through November.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of leeks has 50 calories, 2 grams of fiber and more than 50% of your daily dose of vitamin K. Leeks also contain the antioxidant beta-carotene and iron for healthy red-blood cells.

What To Do with Leeks

Leeks can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, braised or baked into casseroles. Use them in place of onions for pasta or egg dishes. A tomato and leek frittata is to die for! The mild onion flavor goes well with light fare like chicken or seafood. One of my favorite summer dishes is Ina Garten’s Zucchini Vichyssoise, a potato-leek soup with extra sweetness that comes fresh zucchini -- all the ingredients for this recipe are in season right now!

Shopping Tip: Choose leeks that are straight and firm with bright green leaves. Store in the fridge, unwashed and wrapped in plastic for up to 2 weeks.

    Leek recipes to try:

Next Up

In Season: Kale

Everyone is talking about kale chips! What makes this of-the-moment leafy green so healthy?

In Season: Persimmons

Finding uses for this ancient Chinese delicacy may seem intimidating, but persimmons are versatile. Just be sure to catch them while you can! They are in season from October through January.

In Season: Grapes

Grapes are in season right now. Get them fresh off the vine and try some of our favorite ways to prepare them.

In Season: Fennel

Everyone in my family thought they didn’t like fennel until I showed them some easy and delicious ways to prepare it. This cool and crisp veggie is on my weekly shopping list for the summer.

In Season: Cherries

With more than 900 cherry varieties available around the world, there is no excuse not to dig into these sweet little morsels now that they're coming into season. At only 85 calories a cup, they're a healthy treat.

In Season: Radishes

Radishes are my favorite veggie. Seriously. Yeah, they're an unusual choice, but I grew up snacking on them raw. Not sure you're a fan? Well, here are my favorite ways to enjoy them raw or cooked.

In Season: Peaches

Peach season has finally arrived! My 5-year old daughter has been waiting for me to bring home fresh ones ever since summer began. Read up on the different types and try some of our deliciously peachy recipes.

In Season: Beets

Beets have a long growing season so I get a lot of them in my weekly CSA share. I’m always trying to find more ways to enjoy these colorful root veggies.

In Season: Apples

Low in calories and high in fiber, apples are the perfect snack or works wonders for dressing up a cooked dish. Check out our favorite healthy recipes and the apple varieties to try.