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Bright green leeks held by rubber bands at a Farmers market.
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5 from 4 votes

How To Clean, Cut, and Cook Leeks

Learn how to clean and cut leeks, plus freezer storage tips. Creative recipe ideas to saute and roast them for soups, dinner, and sides.
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dishes & Vegetables
Cuisine: Condiment
Keyword: fresh sliced leeks, how to clean and cut leeks, leek recipes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 54kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • STEP 1: On a stable cutting board, use a good sharp knife and slice off the root end of the leek and discard.
  • STEP 2: From the root end, slice up through the leek half way. Leave the tough green top end connected. Fill up a large bowl of cold water. This is so you can soak and begin to wash the dirt off but not have leaves go everywhere. You will begin to see the sand in the bottom of the bowl of water. Use a circular motion and swish them around.
  • STEP 3: Use your hands to remove a lot of dirt. The bottom of the bowl of water will get quite gritty. Put the dark green tops into the water and continue to clean. Change the dirty water several times as you go.
  • STEP 4: Fan the leaves open underwater to be sure they are clean. And keep changing the water until clear.
  • STEP 5: Once clean, move to a cutting board. Now slice all the way through the length of the leeks. Place the flat cut side down on the cutting board.
  • STEP 6: Slice the entire leek into thin half moons for your recipe.

Notes

Pro Cooking Tips

2 large leeks or 3 medium yields about 2 cups (179g) sliced.
Buy several leeks at once,  clean, slice, and keep ready in the freezer for quick recipe preparation.
Most recipes call for the white and light green parts, the dark green parts can be tougher, but can be used in your chicken stocks and broths.
If the recipe calls for cooked leeks, you can saute them in a skillet with a splash of olive oil, just cook them like onions until soft and their edges are turning golden brown but not dark. 

Storing

After you buy leeks, refrigerate them unwashed in open plastic bags up to 1-2 weeks. 

Freezing

Press on a clean towel on leeks to dry, or use a salad spinner. Store clean and pre-sliced, in freezer zip lock bags for 3-4 months. 
Freeze the clean, dark green leek pieces in a ziplock bag, and use to make homemade stocks or broth.
Julienne Cut: Take 3-4 layers from leek halves, then fold in half lengthwise, and slice into thin long strips with a large chef's knife. Go slowly and use your best knife skills to slice leeks, they can slip so be careful.
Finer Slices: Take clean leek halves pieces with the flat side down, and start at one end and slice across into ⅛ inch thick half moon slices. You can then cut those strips into finer dice. How To Cut Leeks

Nutrition

Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1484IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg