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Feature Articles  

What  are Leeks?

Meet a Not-Too-Famous Onion


Discovering What We Don’t Know About Leeks


Alien Encounters:

Drumming Up Inspiration for Strange-Sounding Vegetables


A Week of Leeks:

Get to know Leeks, 7 Easy Ways

In Every Issue

Why We Love It

Partners in Flavor and Season

Leek Season

Vegetable Boosters

Picky Eater Tips

Money Saving Tricks

News from the Farm

Cooking School

Cooking Classes:

White Fish and Leeks en Papillote    

Roasted Leeks and Butternut Squash Salad

Buying the Best

Storing for Flavor

Prepping Tricks & Tips

Cooking Basics

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes

13 Easy Recipes: Make

Leeks a Mid-Winter Favorite

What are leeks?  Meet the In-Laws
Discovering What We Don't Know About Leeks
Alien Encournters: Drumming Up Vegetable Inspiration
Recipe List for Leeks
Buying The Best
Storing For Flavor
Prepping Tricks & Tips
Cooking Basics
Why We Love It
Leek Vegetable Boosters
Picky Eater Tips
Money Saving Tricks
News From The Farm
In This Issue
White Fish Leeks en Papillote
Roasted Leek and Butternut Squash Salad

<<In the Kitchen:  Prepping Tips

Step 2:  Washing Leeks


© 2009 Culinary Concepts, Inc., Boulder CO

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Dealing with Dirt  

Dirt is a problem with leeks.  It doesn't just get on leeks, such that it can be washed off with a quick rub and rinse.  It gets embedded, deep inside leeks, wedged maddeningly between a leek’s many rings.  But with a few pointers, you’ll find cleaning leeks isn't such a problem.  

There are three main washing methods for leeks:  

Method 1: Separating and Rubbing  Wash leek halves directly under faucet, preferably in spray mode.  Point the leek down, so the water washes the dirt out the "open" top, rather then into the tight-knit bottom.  Use one hand to gently fan open the layers; use other hand to rub out any dirt that doesn't get flushed out by the running water, focusing special attention on the “dirt band.”   


Method 2: Swishing  Leeks cut in narrower lengths are flexible enough to be cleaned by swishing in a large container of water.  If you have time, allow them to soak a few minutes first to soften and loosen any dirt.  Give them a final rinse under running water, too, being sure to fan open the layers and rub out any stubborn dirt pieces as directed in Method 1.   

Method 3: Swirling  Leeks sliced into smaller pieces can washed in a bowl of water. Swirl and agitate the water with your hand to help loosen the dirt.   Using a salad spinner, rather than a colander, allows the leeks to be suspended in water, so the dirt can better fall out and away from the leek rings.  If you don't have a salad spinner, use a colander in a big pot of water, or a pasta pot with an insert.  

The Best Washing Method?  

Method 1 is my preferred method because of the way dirt can really get embedded between the layers of a leek.  Washing the layers while they are still large, intact sheets is the easiest way to access and rub away stubborn dirt deposits.   Cutting a leek into smaller pieces just creates more pieces to rub free of dirt.  

The running water used in Method 1 also ensures that dirt is immediately washed away from the leek.  When smaller pieces are washed in a bowl or colander, dirt dislodged from one small piece can easily float off and get lodged in another small piece.

Where a recipe calls for cutting a leek into smaller pieces, simply wash the halves first, then cut as directed.   



Whatever washing method you choose, there’s good reason to be thankful for lots of pure running water.  While the water running from out taps is easy to take for granted, that’s changing fast.  Be good to the planet and be sure to minimize the water used for vegetable washing.   


Thank Goodness for Water

When washing leeks, it helps to know that most dirt and debris is concentrated in a roughly one-inch band where the green and white parts meet.   

The “Dirt Band”