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Leeks, .5-1lb approx.
Leeks are considered to be the sweetest and most mild members of the onion family.
Cleaning is important, whether preparing Leeks whole or chopped. The easiest way to clean Leeks is to cut in half lengthwise and chop thinly. Put chopped Leeks in a bowl and rinse with fresh, cool water, changing out the water until no debris remains. Dry the Leeks well before preparing. To use the Leek whole, insert the tip of a knife just above the last leaf margin and cut straight through lengthwise, fanning the Leek open to expose the spaces between the layers. A second cut can be made crosswise, to expose more layers if necessary.
To store, chopped Leeks can be blanched and frozen. Whole Leeks will store in the refrigerator for up to a week, wrapped well to keep the aroma at bay.
Though leeks are often interchangeable with onions and garlic, they can require specific preparation and are often highlighted in recipes for their particular flavor. Slowly cook sliced leeks in olive oil and butter until soft, then toss with beans and pasta. Cook with potatoes and vegetable broth, the puree for a classic potato-leek soup. Slow-cook with butter and cream and serve with seafood such as seared scallops. Grill whole or halved leeks and serve as a started or topping for bruschetta. Braise in wine and vegetable stalk until very tender, then top with a mustard-based vinaigrette. Add sautéed leeks to quiche, savory tarts or pies.
Leeks are a rich source of vitamins B6 and K, as well as iron, manganese and dietary fiber. Leeks are high in the nutrient folate, the highest concentration of folate can be found in the white parts of the Leek.