Leeks have been the national emblem of Wales since 640 AD when, according to legend, the Welsh army defeated the invading Saxons because the men attached leeks to their hats.
The Welsh men were able to identify their country-men and the leeks stopped them attacking each other by mistake.
Leeks belong to the onion family and look a bit like a huge spring onion, with a mild onion flavour. Miniature leeks are sometimes available.
What to look for
Choose well-shaped, medium stems with fresh green tops and lots of white flesh.
Available: all year
Limited supply: November to February
Refrigerate in plastic bags.
How to prepare
Trim the root end and trim off the green tops – leaving about 10 cm of green. Remove any outer leaves which are coarse or damaged. Make a slit down the length of the green stem and rinse thoroughly in cold running water. Sometimes dirt gets trapped because leeks are grown with earth around them to keep them white. Slice to the required size.
Ways to eat
Leeks can be microwaved, boiled, steamed, stir fried or braised. Add to soups, flans, pies and braises or stews. Serve with a white or cheese sauce. Cooked cold leeks can be used in salads. As leeks are from the onion family, they can be used to give a mild onion-type taste in recipes, both raw and cooked. Click here for recipes.
Braise, boil, microwave, steam, stew.
Leeks are a good source of folate, a source of dietary fibre, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and contain a dietary significant amount of potassium. They contain phytonutrients, including carotenoids and phenolic compounds.
|Serving size: 1 cup chopped = 106g|
|Average Quantity||% Daily Intake per serve||Average Quantity|
|per serving||per 100g|
|Fat, total (g)||0.2||0%||0.2|
|- saturated (g)||0.03||0%||0.03|
|Available carbohydrate (g)||4.2||1%||4|
|- sugars (g)||4.1||5%||3.9|
|Dietary Fibre (g)||3.1||2.9||A source of dietary fibre|
|Folate (µg)||57||29% RDI*||54||A good source of folate|
|Thiamin (mg)||0.16||14% RDI*||0.2||A source of thiamin|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.27||17% RDI*||0.3||A source of vitamin B6|
|Vitamin C (mg)||5||13% RDI*||5.0||A source of vitamin C|
|Potassium (mg)||244||230||Contains potassium|
|Calcium (mg)||41||5% RDI*||39|
|Iron (mg)||0.5||4% RDI*||0.5|
|Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ|
|Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs|
|*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)|
|Source: FOODfiles 2018|
Make sure the leeks are clean and well trimmed. Lay them side by side with green ends pointing in the same direction. Keep cool and moist. Use the QR code on labels.
Store at 0°C with a relative humidity of 90-100%.
Purchase leeks with the New Zealand GAP logo.
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