The LEEK is a vegetable , a cultivar of Allium ampeloprasum , the broadleaf wild leek. The edible part of the plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk. The genus Allium also contains the onion , garlic , shallot , scallion , chive , and Chinese onion .
Historically, many scientific names were used for leeks, but they are now all treated as cultivars of A. ampeloprasum. The name 'leek' developed from the Anglo-Saxon word leac. Two closely related vegetables, elephant garlic and kurrat , are also cultivars of A. ampeloprasum, although different in their uses as food.
* 1 Form * 2 Cultivars * 3 Growing * 4 Cuisine * 5 Historical consumption * 6 Cultural significance * 7 Gallery * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths that are generally blanched by pushing soil around them (trenching). They are often sold as small seedlings in flats that are started off early in greenhouses , to be planted out as weather permits. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy; many varieties can be left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed.
Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the field for an extended harvest, which takes place up to 6 months from planting. The soil in which it is grown has to be loose and drained well; leek can be grown in the same regions where onions can be grown. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months. The thrips species Thrips tabaci is considered a leek pest and leeks can also get leek rust (Puccinia allii ). Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Hilling leeks can produce better specimens.
Fresh leek sautéing
Leeks have a mild, onion-like taste. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. One of the most popular uses is for adding flavor to stock. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sautéed or added to stock. A few leaves are sometimes tied with twine and other herbs to form a bouquet garni .
Leeks are typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. The different ways of preparing the vegetable are:
* Boiling turns it soft and mild in taste. (Care should be taken to chop the vegetable, or else the intact fibers that run the length of the vegetable will tangle into a ball while chewing.) * Frying leaves it crunchier and preserves the taste. * Raw leeks can be used in salads , doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient. * In Turkish cuisine , leeks are chopped into thick slices, then boiled and separated into leaves, and finally filled with a filling usually containing rice, herbs (generally parsley and dill), onion, and black pepper. For sarma with olive oil , currants, pine nuts, and cinnamon are added, and for sarma with meat, minced meat is added to the filling. In Turkey, especially zeytinyağlı pırasa (leek with olive oil), ekşili pırasa (sour leek), etli pırasa (leek with meat), pırasa musakka (leek musakka ), pırasalı börek (börek with leek), and pırasa köftesi leek meatball are also cooked.
Leeks are an ingredient of cock-a-leekie soup , leek and potato soup, and vichyssoise , as well as plain leek soup .
Because of their symbolism in
Bible commentators attribute the חציר specimen—acclaimed by the
Israelites to be of abundance in Egypt—as the leek. Dried specimens
from archaeological sites in ancient Egypt , as well as wall carvings
and drawings, led Zohary and Hopf to conclude the leek was a part of
the Egyptian diet from at least the second millennium
They also allude to surviving texts that show it had been also grown
Mesopotamia from the beginning of the second millennium BCE. The
leek was the favorite vegetable of the Emperor
Still life with leeks by Carl Schuch (National Museum in Warsaw )
The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, worn along with the
daffodil (in Welsh, the daffodil is known as "Peter's leek", Cenhinen
Bedr) on St. David’s Day . According to one legend , King Cadwaladr
of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the
vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons
that took place in a leek field. The Elizabethan poet Michael Drayton
stated, in contrast, that the tradition was a tribute to Saint David,
who ate only leeks when he was fasting. Whatever the case, the leek
has been known to be a symbol of
Alongside the other national floral emblems of countries currently
and formerly in the Commonwealth or part of the United Kingdom
(including the English
Perhaps the most visible use of the leek, however, is as the cap
badge of the
In Romania, the leek is also widely considered a symbol of Oltenia , a historical region in the southwestern part of the country.
Two blooming flower heads *
A largely spent flower head showing open flowers, as well as developing seed pods *
Still life of leeks and thyme *
Section and root base *
Allium tricoccum , a North American plant commonly known as "wild
* Culture of
* ^ Block, E. (2010). Garlic