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.


All year with limited supply November - 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.

Cooking Methods

Braise, boil, microwave, steam, stew.


Nutrition Information
Serving size:  ½ cup sliced - 69g
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
per 100g 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 98/23 1% 142/34  
Protein (g) 1.2 2% 1.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0.3% 0.3  
 - saturated (g) trace 0%  trace  
Carbohydrate (g) 3.2 1%  4.6  
 - sugars (g) 3.2 4% 4.6  
Dietary fibre (g) 2.0 6% 2.9 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 4 0.2% 6  
Vitamin C (mg) 10.4 26% RDI* 15 A good source of vitamin C
Iron (mg) 1.4 12% RDI* 2 A source of iron
Folate (µg)  17 8% RDI* 24  
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.1 6% RDI* 0.15  
Calcium (mg) 42.1 5% RDI* 61  
Potassium (mg) 193   280  
Thiamin trace 0% RDI* trace  

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: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Leeks are a good source of vitamin C, a source of iron and contain dietary fibre.  They contain phytonutrients, including carotenoids and phenolic compounds.


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.


Greens galore
Greens galore

This is a great way to present green vegetables, hot or as a chilled salad. View Recipe

Potato gratin with tomato and leeks
Potato gratin with tomato and leeks

Traditional gratin has onion and potato in layers; this one also has leek and tomato and is delicious. View Recipe

Quick minestrone soup
Quick minestrone soup

Using sprouted lentils in soups instead of traditional dried beans, lentils or split peas speeds up preparation time. View Recipe

View more Recipes


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