How To Store Whole And Cut Leeks (Do This!)
Leeks are a vegetable closely related to the onion and often have a very similar flavor profile. This vegetable is commonly used in salads, sauces, stews, and soups. With a softer flavor than an onion, the leek is a perfect vegetable substitute in many familiar recipes.
The leek has a relatively long shelf life when stored properly. This vegetable can last anywhere from five days to two weeks when properly stored and refrigerated. This vegetable is a great candidate to be frozen, pickled, or canned to extend a leek’s shelf life. Freezing the leek can extend its life to up to one year with proper storage techniques.
The best way to keep uncut, unwashed leeks fresh is by storing them in the refrigerator, ideally in the crisper section, and wrapped in plastic or in a plastic bag. However, if you plan on using your leeks within a few days of purchase, they can stay at room temperature. After the leeks have been cut, they can be frozen or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
With so many recipe options and storage options, the leek is a valuable vegetable to keep in your ingredient rotation. The leek is also healthy and can add valuable vitamins and nutrients to many recipes. Pickling and canning your leaks can add a completely different flavor profile that can complement your standard recipe or help you create a truly original and inspiring recipe to share with family and friends.
How to Store Leeks in the Refrigerator
The leek can last a surprisingly long time if you put it into the refrigerator. To store leeks in the refrigerator, follow the below instructions.
Step 1: Plastic Bag
You’ll want to keep your leeks stored in a plastic bag with an air-tight seal. Using a Ziploc bag is a great option. Leeks have a particularly strong smell, so storing them in a plastic bag will help to contain the smell in your fridge.
Step 2: (Optional) Wet Paper Towel
If you do not plan to use your leeks right away, and you want to extend your leek’s life, try to wrap the leek in a moist paper towel first. Place the leek and the paper towel into the air-tight bag and seal while pushing all the air out of the bag.
Step 3: Refrigerate
Place the leeks in the refrigerator, ideally in the crisper section. Leeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator can be stored for five to ten days.
Should I Cut Leeks Before Storing Them?
To keep your leek as fresh as possible, you never want to cut your leeks ahead of time. Keep the green leaves at the top of the leek intact. Keep the rooty bottom of the leek attached as well. Avoid washing your leek before storing them.
Adding water to the leek by cleaning and preparing them before the refrigeration process can create excess moisture. This additional water can lead to premature rot, causing your leeks to spoil early. It is best only to refrigerate intact leeks, unless you have already prepared the leeks for canning.
How Can I Freeze Leeks?
When it comes to freezing leeks, there are three methods. All three methods work well, and the freezer method comes down to personal preference.
Method 1: Raw Leeks
Step 1: Prepare Leeks. Cut off the roots and the green tops of the leeks. Slice into small half-moon slices.
Step 2: Seal. Place the leeks into air-tight plastic bags, like Ziploc bags that can be frozen. Before seeling the bag, be sure to press the excess air out of the bag.
Step 3: Freeze. Place in the freezer on a bottom shelf. Leeks will last three months or longer with this method.
Method 2: Cut Leeks
Step 1: Prepare Leeks. Cut off the roots and the green top part of the leek. Slice into half-moon shapes.
Step 2: Baking Sheet. Spread the leeks out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Do not allow the leeks to touch.
Step 3: Freeze. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow the leeks to freeze, uncovered, for about an hour. Wait for the leeks to become crisp and hard.
Step 4: Seal. After an hour, place the frozen leeks into a plastic bag, like a Ziploc. Press the air out of the bag before sealing. Freezing the leeks in this manner will prevent the leeks from sticking together in the plastic bag. Leeks will last up to one year when frozen this way.
Method 3: Blanched Leeks
Step 1 Boil Water. Boil a small pot of water with a pinch of salt.
Step 2: Prepare Leeks. Cut off the roots and the top, green parts of the leek. Slice the leek into small, half-moon shapes.
Step 3: Boil. Put the leeks into the boiling water to blanch them. Only boil leeks for about 30 seconds
Step 4: Ice Bath. Immediately transfer the leeks to a small ice bath. This ice bath can be a small bowl of water with some ice cubes. This step will help prevent the leeks from overcooking.
Step 5: Seal. Place the cooked and cooled leeks into a plastic, air-tight bag, like a Ziploc bag. Press excess air out of the bag before sealing.
Step 6: Freeze. Place the cooked leeks in the freezer. These frozen leeks will last up to a year if frozen and stored properly. Blanching the leeks first before freezing can help preserve the color and flavor of the leeks better.
Can I Store Leeks at Room Temperature?
It is possible to keep your leeks stored at room temperature. Do not clean or cut the leeks. Take a jar and fill it with enough water to keep the roots of the leeks submerged. Place the leeks in the jar, root side down. Be sure to place your leeks in a cool and dry place. Leeks are fine to stay on the counter submerged in water for a day or two.
If you live in a hot or humid location, you may want to put your jar of leeks in a cool and dry place, so they will not spoil too quickly. Leeks will last a day or two unrefrigerated sitting on the kitchen counter.
Leeks are great vegetables to can and can be kept for three to six months in the refrigerator with a proper canning solution. Canning leeks can help preserve their flavor and color and give you an extended lifespan for this vegetable. To can leeks you must:
Step 1: Prepare Canning Liquid
Bring a saucepan of vinegar, salt, sugar, peppercorn, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, thyme, and red chili flakes mixed with water to a boil.
Step 2: Prepare Leeks
Cut and blanch the leeks (directions above). Allow the leeks to dry. This process is a good way to help preserve the color and leek flavor before canning the leeks in the solution.
Step 3: Can
Pour the boiled mixture into canning jars immediately after taking it off the heat. Add the leeks to the jar and tighten the canning lid.
Step 4: Refrigerate
Store in the refrigerator with the lid closed for three to six months.
How Can I Store Single Leek Servings?
Leeks are a versatile vegetable but work incredibly well as an onion replacement in soups and stews. If you want to make a long-lasting and versatile leek additive, you can purée leeks and create a liquid to freeze. First, blanch the leeks according to the above directions. Then, add the leeks to a food processor with some olive oil. Continue to blend with enough oil until the solution becomes a smooth purée.
Next, add the leek purée to an ice cube tray, and place it in the freezer to harden. This process will give you individual leek servings that are frozen to stay fresh. This option is a perfect way to add just a few leek ice cubes to your soup or stew without having to purchase fresh leeks for every recipe. When leeks are processed and frozen this way, leeks will last three to six months in the freezer.
How are Leeks Used?
Leeks are a wonderful vegetable that can be used in several meals and menus. Leeks can be eaten raw and are commonly used as a salad topping. Further, leeks can be cooked and easily added to mixed vegetables. Include leeks with a vegetable medley that is steamed or roasted.Leeks can make even the most straightforward food more exciting, adding a unique and soft flavor. Leeks are commonly added to mashed potatoes, giving your standard menu item more flare.Further, leeks are traditionally used in soups and stews. The leek has a softer, onion-type flavor that can help spice up just about any recipe. Add fresh leeks to your stew, or simply defrost a frozen leek purée to your soup. Leeks are commonly paired with potatoes or fennel to give your meals a unique flavor profile original taste. Leeks work well with seafood and pair wonderfully well with salmon.
Are Leeks Healthy?
Leeks are very healthy vegetable options and offer plenty of vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is a rich source of Vitamins A, C, and K. This vegetable can help keep your eyes healthy, reducing the risk of cataracts. These vegetables also provide plenty of antioxidant properties and are also used as an anti-inflammatory. Even studies that have found leeks can help prevent and heal systemic diseases and help reduce the symptoms associated with certain cancers.
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