How can there even be a Vegetable of the Month for January. . . and why are leeks
Admittedly, it's a stretch to talk about a Vegetable of the Month when in many places
there is snow on the ground, temperatures in the teens and no living green thing
for miles. Exactly the point. The dismal weather outside is precisely why leeks
are a perfect vegetable for January: Because they are a great storage vegetable.
In areas where the ground is frozen, leeks can be harvested in late autumn and stored
clear into March. “Eating in the Depths of Winter" reveals how this amazing feat
is accomplished by the Monroe’s on their farm in eastern Colorado.
In less severe climates, leeks can be "stored" all winter right in the ground where
To make matters even better, different varieties of leeks have been developed with
a range of maturation periods and even greater hardiness levels. Certain varieties,
especially small baby leeks, mature quickly and become available by early to mid-summer,
depending upon the locale. Others mature in stages after the early birds, so they
are available through the fall. Finally, some are so hardy they can be left in the
ground in milder climates for harvest all winter.
So even in the depths of winter, leeks mercifully provide seasonal eaters with something
green and fresh tasting.
Winter storage leeks may not look that great at first, but peeling away the withered,
gnarly exterior . . .
How we love cold weather crops! They grow and actually taste better in cool temperatures.
Leeks can survive temperatures in the 20s and 30s–sometimes even lower. They might
get nipped by the cold, but they hold their own and usually rebound when the weather