Leeks are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is also valued for its sweet and delicate flavor. I like to serve it with dishes like roast chicken and steak.
But what would you do if you realized that the leeks you bought for a particular recipe like a stew or soup were too much? You don’t want to throw it away, right? Would freezing it be the best way to store it?
Read on and find out more on how to freeze leeks.
What are leeks?
Leeks are like garlic and onions because they belong to the genus Allium. The name, however, came from the word “leac” which has Anglo-Saxon origins.
Leeks have been grown and consumed by humans since time immemorial. In fact, it is mentioned in the Bible. According to the Old Testament, the Israelites longed to return to Egypt because they want to taste leeks again.
This vegetable has been highly valued throughout history. In fact, it is said that Roman emperor Nero was called the leek eater because he believed eating the vegetable would make him a better singer.
What are the health benefits of leeks?
As I mentioned earlier, leeks are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is rich in antioxidants. Thus it can be considered as an anti-cancer food. It can lower the risks of certain cancers like colon, prostate and stomach cancer.
It is also considered one of the top sources of vitamin K, along with other vitamins like A, E and C. It is also packed with manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, and other essential nutrients.
Leeks can protect against heart ailments such as cardiac failure, arteriosclerosis, and stroke. It can do so because of its ability to lower blood pressure. It is also a good antiseptic, enabling the body to fight off infections. In fact, you can use leek extract to prevent infection of a wound.
Can you freeze leeks?
Yes, you can freeze leeks. In fact, this is the best way to store this very versatile vegetable if you don’t know when you will be using or eating it again. When stored in the freezer, leeks can remain fresh for up to 12 months.
How Should You Freeze Leeks?
Before you freeze leeks, it is imperative that you wash the vegetables thoroughly first. The vegetable is very prone to dirt and small insects are trapping between its leaves.
I suggest you cut the leeks first in half before freezing them. Keep the root intact. Then place the leeks under running water so that the layers will be thoroughly cleaned. Drain the leeks and place them on a paper towel, so that excess water will be absorbed.
If you are to store chopped leeks, you need to remove the dark leafy ends and root first. Then cut the white stalk lengthwise and chopping it crosswise so you would end up with pieces that are shaped like a moon.
After chopping the leeks, place them in a bowl and fill it with cold water. Let it stand for a few minutes so that dirt and sand will be removed. You’ll see those rubbles sinking to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop out the leeks using a slotted spoon.
You can then place the leeks on a sheet tray before freezing them. I usually place waxed paper on the tray first so that it would be easier for me to transfer the frozen leeks later on. You can also store the leeks in a Ziploc bag.
Creamy Leeks Soup
Before I end, let me share this simple creamy leeks soup that you can try in case you have run out of ideas on what to do with this vegetable. This recipe would take about 50 minutes and make 4 to 6 servings.
- Four large leeks (white and light green parts), sliced and cleaned
- Four garlic cloves, minced
- One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Seven cups of chicken stock (Learn the differences between chicken stock and chicken base in this post)
- Half cup of basmati rice
- One bay leaf
- Salt and ground pepper
Step by step guide
- Begin by heating the oil in a soup pot placed over medium heat.
- Add leeks and salt. Cook and stir until the vegetable has become tender.
- Add the garlic and continue stirring for a minute or until the garlic smells aromatic.
- Add the stock, rice and bay leaf. Add more salt. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover the pot and let it simmer for half an hour.
- Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup in a blender. Return it to the pot then add pepper to taste. You can serve it hot or cold. You may even garnish it with chopped chives.
Leeks are not only nutritious but also have a long storage life just like its cousins - garlic and onions. When frozen, leeks can remain fresh for up to 12 months. Before freezing leeks, make sure that you clean it thoroughly first. Thaw them in the fridge for several hours before using, and the vegetables can then be incorporated in whatever dish you have in mind.