I love leeks. They are super healthy and super delicious. They also give you that nice, powerful onion/garlic flavor without giving you the dragon breath that straight up garlic or onion will. Leeks are pretty expensive in the stores so it’s awesome that the mild weather in Portland allows us to grow these almost all year round, planting and harvesting whenever we want.
Here’s how I clean and store extra leeks for later use:
1 ) Washing: first, I fill the sink with cool water and allow the leeks to chill out there for a while. This removes most outside dirt and any little critters.
2 ) Trimming: ALL of the leek is edible- even the very tough ends of the green leaves can be used to make broth but I compost those. I slice off the roots (the bottom of the white part, 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the end) and use almost 1/2 of the green part, cutting them off right before the leek really starts to splay out and get dark green. Experiment! Taste test all the little bits and keep what you like best. Leeks are cool like that.
3 ) Splicing: halve the leek vertically, without cutting all the way through the other side. Leeks are in layers, like onions, so cutting almost but not quite all the way through lets you clean out the dirt particles in the layers without the whole damn thing coming apart.
4 ) Rinsing: Run the lovely split leek under cool running water to get them super clean.
5 ) Chopping: At this point, I cut through the splice I’ve made in my leek and chop it up in 1/4 to 1/3 inch pieces. I like them on the small side to puree for baby food and add to soups, stews and stir fry. A larger size will work too, but beware of freezing leeks in large chunks or whole for BBQ grilling later. After thawing, a textural issue with them makes grilling yucky.
6 ) Freezing: Since I have limited space in my upright freezer, this method works great- using a Tupperware bowl and pieces of foil or wax paper, I stack about an inch of chopped leeks with foil between each layer. This keeps the layers thin enough to allow it all to freeze solid, but keeps too many from freezing together in one super huge chunk, making it difficult and annoying to break up into manageable storing sizes. Then I let them freeze for a few hours.
7 ) Storing: I then label my freezer bags, break out the food scale and store , 6 ounces at a time. This seems to be just the right amount to add to dishes for my family of 3.
TAH-DAH! These will be good about 3 months in the freezer.