How to store leeks at home for a long time
Leek is one of the varieties of onions, which, unfortunately, housewives do not often use in cooking, although its taste is much thinner and more tender than that of onions. Leek is also rich in vitamins A and B, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, it also contains a large amount of ascorbic acid, which increases by 1.5 times during storage by spring.
Interesting! The leek is one of the official symbols of Wales, depicted on the coat of arms.
March 1 is a very important date for the people of Wales, this is the day of St. David, who is considered the patron saint of the country. On this day, festive events are held throughout the country: festivals, concerts, street festivities, traditional Welsh dishes are prepared — cake and leek soup. And all because there is a legend about the priest David, who, before the battle of the Welsh with the Saxons in 640, advised the soldiers to attach leek feathers to their hats to distinguish themselves from the enemy. The battle was successfully won, and the leek became the emblem of Wales.
Leek is low-calorie, it can be safely introduced into the diet for those who adhere to proper nutrition or diet. Leek is also useful for the following diseases:
- urolithiasis disease,
- nervous exhaustion,
- problems with the heart and blood vessels,
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Important! It is not recommended to use raw leeks for people suffering from diseases of the stomach and duodenum.
Leek can be attributed to one of the most valuable vegetable crops, the regular use of which strengthens the immune system and protects against colds. But in order for the leek to be eaten at any time, you should follow some rules for its storage and harvesting.
- How to properly prepare leeks for storage at home
- How to Harvest Leek
- Conditions: humidity and temperature
- How to keep fresh
- In a refrigerator
- On the balcony
- In the basement
- Recommended varieties for long-term storage
How to properly prepare leeks for storage at home
Despite the fact that this crop is considered resistant to cold (up to -7 ℃), harvest should be done in a timely manner: before the start of frost. In order for leeks to be suitable for further storage, you need to do the following:
- gently dig up the onion with a fork or shovel,
- shake the soil from the roots
- remove damaged and diseased leaves,
- cut off ⅔ of the roots without hitting the bottom of the bulb,
- air dry for a couple of hours.
After these actions, the leeks must be thoroughly washed, dried again, and then proceed to harvesting.
How to Harvest Leek
There are several ways to harvest leeks for the winter:
Now about each of them in more detail.
Pickling for the winter in jars is one of the most popular ways to make blanks at home. In order to pickle leeks you need:
- selected, washed and completely freed from roots and greenery, cut the white stems across into 3-4 parts,
- put all parts in a jar (the optimal volume is 1 liter),
- pour marinade (marinade is prepared from water, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, spices, etc.),
- quickly and hermetically close the jar,
- wrap the jar with warm material and put the lid down.
To preserve as many nutrients as possible, leeks are dried.
For this you should:
- peel the sorted onion, cut off the roots and upper parts,
- cut into rings the remaining parts, dividing the resulting sections among themselves,
- dry the onion in an electric dryer, and in its absence — in the oven.
Advice! The most optimal temperature for drying in the oven is 50-60 ℃. Dry for 2-3 hours with the door ajar and stir occasionally.
Store leeks dry, preferably in a breathable container.
Basic steps for storing frozen leeks:
- Cut the washed, peeled and dried onions as you plan to use them after defrosting.
- Put the chopped onion on a flat dish, cover with cling film or a bag and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours. This is necessary so that the leek freezes a little, and separate rings are obtained, which can be easily poured into a container for long-term storage.
- Leek should be packaged in airtight containers (special food containers, zip bags with a tight closure), as the plant has a bright aroma that can spread to other foods in the freezer.
Advice! It is better to freeze leeks in small portions, as the nutritional value is lost when re-freezing.
A fairly simple way to save leeks for the winter is salting. To do this, cut the peeled onion (rings, half rings, cubes) and mix thoroughly with salt (it is recommended to use rock salt, 50 grams of salt will be needed per 1 kilogram of onion). The resulting mixture is laid out in pre-prepared jars and closed with lids. It is advisable to take jars with a volume of 1 liter so that an open jar is not stored for a long time.
Conditions: humidity and temperature
If the above methods of storing leeks are not to your liking, you can keep the root crop fresh after harvesting. Onion storage conditions are as follows:
- optimum temperature from -1℃ to +1℃,
- air humidity 80-85%.
How to keep fresh
There are three main ways to keep leeks fresh at home:
- in a refrigerator,
- on the balcony,
- in the basement.
Important! With these methods, onion storage will be shorter.
The table clearly shows information on the shelf life of leeks in various ways:
|Storage method||Shelf life|
|Pickling||up to 12 months|
|Drying||up to 12 months|
|Freeze||more than 12 months|
|salting||up to 12 months|
|In a refrigerator||up to 4 months|
|On the balcony||up to 6 months|
|In the basement||up to 6 months|
Below we will consider how to store onions fresh.
In a refrigerator
Before you put the leek in the refrigerator, you need:
- select the best specimens without damage from the entire crop,
- wash thoroughly (especially the base of the shoot),
- let dry,
- packaged in plastic bags with small ventilation holes made.
Now you can put the leeks in the refrigerator and store in this form at a temperature not higher than +2 ℃.
On the balcony
If there is not enough space in the refrigerator, you can use the balcony to keep the leek fresh. For this method, boxes are needed. You can use both plastic and wooden (the optimal size is meter per meter). Lay a plastic film on the bottom of the box, with its help moisture will last longer. Sprinkle a thin layer of wet sand over the film. Put pre-prepared (washed, peeled and dried) onions in a box and cover with the remaining sand so that the white stems are completely covered.
Make sure that the humidity on the balcony is 80-85% and the temperature does not fall below -1 ℃.
In the basement
The happy owners of the cellar and basement will not have a question where to store leeks, as cellars and cellars are an ideal place to store vegetables. Storing onions in the basement is no different than storing them on the balcony. Boxes are also used in which the onion “sits down”. The main thing is to observe the temperature regime and humidity.
Recommended varieties for long-term storage
In nature, there are early-ripening, mid-ripening and late-ripening varieties of leek. For long-term storage, late-ripening varieties are best, although they are sharper and tougher in taste.
The best varieties of late-ripening leeks include:
- «Elephant MS»
These varieties of leek can be safely used for harvesting and storing it fresh.
There was a time when Parisians considered leeks to be «poor man’s asparagus», because the unpretentious onion grew well even in winter and did not need special care. Leek was sold in abundance, and anyone could buy it. Even Pablo Picasso during the Second World War painted the painting «Still Life — Skull, Jug and Leek», in which the leek symbolized hunger. Today, leek is considered a valuable and healthy vegetable, enriched with vitamins and minerals. The most juicy and fleshy part is the white stem. It can be boiled, stewed and fried. There are a huge number of leek recipes, among which everyone will find their favorite dish using leeks. Green leaves can also be used in cooking, adding them to salads, sauces and snacks.