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Also known as
Garden leek, Hawar, Prasium.
Leek is a type of vegetable, which belongs to family of onion and garlic. Leek is the stem, leaf or the stalk of leek plant and often referred to as a bundle of leaf sheaths. It has an onion like whit woody base, which is layered and can be chewed. It is light green in color, about the size of a pencil. It tastes somewhat like combination of onion and cucumber. In raw state, it is firm and crunchy. Smaller leeks are milder and more tender.
For slicing leek, first cut off the leaf layer and the root area and save it for other recipes. Wash and drain the white tender leak base thoroughly. Cut it in to 2 halves lengthwise. Slice each half in to slices, thick or thin as per the recipe requirement.
How to Select
For chopping leek, first remove each layer of leaf from the joining root area. Cut off the inedible portion. Now wash and drain it thoroughly. Hold the leaves together and cut them in around ¼ th inch distance. This is the chopped leek and can be used in a vegetable recipe or in salads. Depending on the recipe you can finely chop it or coarsely chop it, by altering the diameter.
Select the fresh looking green leaves. Long kept leek has a harder root base and requires to be chewed more, so avoid those. You can get it from quite a few selected vegetable vendors or in food malls. Select leeks with a clean white slender bulb, at least two to three inches of white, and firm, tightly-rolled dark green tops. The base should be at least 1-/2 inch in diameter, or more. Look for the slim, cylindrical ones rather than those that are large and bulbous.Culinary Uses
The edible portion of leek includes the leaves and the onion like bulb at its base.
· Leek can be used to make cook-a-leekie soup or a mix vegetable soup. You can try making potato and leek soup as well.
· It can be fried to preserve its taste and crunchy nature.
· It can be used to make leek vegetable. Boiled leek turns soft in nature and mild in taste.
· It can also be eaten raw, by mixing it in salads, wherein leek is the prime ingredient.
· A traditional Cawl can be made by making leek soup in meats.How to Store
As it is a green leafy vegetable, it is very perishable and should be consumed as soon as possible. If not, you can wrap it in paper and store in netted bag under refrigeration temperature. Relative humidity can be set to 80-90 % to decrease moisture loss.it can be stored up to 5 days. Do not store in plastic bag, otherwise it will rot easily.Health Benefits
· As leek is a green leafy vegetable, it is high in antioxidants, which help prevent cancer by quenching the free radicals produced in the body.
· It is a good source of iron, required in RBC synthesis.
· Also, minerals present include calcium, phosphorus, sodium, folic acid, manganese, which are necessary for the body processes.
· Vitamins such as vitamin A, C and B complex are also present.
· It is a rich source of dietary fiber, which reduces blood cholesterol levels and aids in the process of digestion.
· Since it belongs to the Allium family, it helps in thinning of blood and proves great for cardiac and hypertensive patients.
· It has antiseptic, diuretic, laxative anti arthritic properties.