She didn’t like onions. Not. At. All. When she was a child, it was a food like any other; if she complained, she got more. So she was careful to quietly eat her allotted serving, of whatever contained onions, and no more. Somehow she survived those growing up onion years, until she could cook for herself, minus the onions. To make matters worse, as a grown woman, she ran into leeks, onion’s shy sister. It was hard to ignore all those amazing leek health benefits, which were most noteworthy. It was time. Time to get your leek on.
Now there’s a lot of things in the produce section of the grocery store that don’t bother anyone, if left alone. The trouble starts when it appears in my CSA produce box on my front door step. Now I know I could customize it, but then I would always have broccoli and apples, with an orange thrown in once in awhile. Now don’t get me wrong. I love broccoli, and apples, and oranges. That’s the problem. I wouldn’t be adventurous and eat seasonal produce because I hadn’t ever done it before. Consequently, that’s how a leek appeared in my box. Now I had to eat it! And experience all those amazing leek health benefits!
As I set out to begin cooking with leeks, I discovered something. It’s not that I really have a problem with onion flavor, its more the texture. I could totally do onion powder and onion salt. In addition, garlic, leek’s other sister, didn’t bother me as much as onions. So I put my food processor to good use. Instead of chopping up the leek, I used my food processor to dice it. And there were no tears.
Exploring Leek Health Benefits
- Decrease cancer risk
- Assist in weight loss
- Lowers blood pressure
- Battle infection
- Promote digestion
- Fight birth defects during pregnancy
If you aren’t a cancer patient, you probably know someone with it. It is that prevalent. So much in fact, that there is underlying fear of getting it. The good news is that this leek lowers that risk. Bring it on!
Leeks and digestion have a good relationship. I am here to tell you that leeks put protonix to shame. Many, many people struggle with heartburn, with all those acids going crazy. Leeks help direct it all back where its supposed to be, digesting food. This is huge, as most people eat three times a day. Relief from heartburn could make someone’s day.
Leek Health Benefits and New Year’s Resolutions…
With all eyes on the those New Year’s resolutions, particularly weight loss and exercise, the leek health benefits fit right in here to assist with that. It’s low caloric content with its fibrous composition gives you that full feeling you need to stop eating. Furthermore, this is a good omen for success.
I love that the humble leek goes to battle with the blood pressure as well. In my nursing, most of my patients struggle with this common disease. If it weren’t for the amount of preparation needed for consumption, I might start suggesting that it become part of the diet.
With cuts a common occurrence in life, in addition to wounds, though less common; infection is a typical risk. One I educate on frequently. I love that the leek acts as a soldier and fights it. Just like an antibiotic, but doesn’t kill all the good stuff.
The amazing little leek is great for pregnant moms. It helps to prevent those neural tube defects every mom is a little fearful about. Even though I’ve had two kids of my own, and studied obstetrical nursing, I’ve have never heard anyone mention that leeks were good for the developing baby. Health for mom and health for baby! So here is the insider information.
The History of Leeks…
While I am quite sure I never had a leek growing up, they are quite common in other countries. I guess they know what is good for them! In the Czech Republic (is that what they call it now?), they fight over a shortage of onions. Why, I really don’t know! But leeks are so common, everyone just grows them. What is wrong with us in the U. S.? Furthermore, though I know many with gardens, I don’t know of any of them growing leeks.
Ironically, according to history, there was a battle in a leek field between the people of Gwynedd and the Saxons. Most relevant, the legend states that Gwynedd soldiers had to wear it on their helmets. I find it interesting that someone chose the leek field as a battleground.
Elizabeth II, who is currently the queen of England, had a leek on her coronation gown. It was delicately embroidered with other symbols of U.K. countries, taking eight months to complete. This goes to show the role that the leek plays over in that part of the world. Perhaps this one is the most noteworthy to me. Might be a girl thing…
Did you know that history records that royalty had leeks in their dinner menus? This included Egyptian pharaohs, European kings, and Roman emperors. Maybe I should check with the White House to see if its on President Trump’s preferred fare.
Leeks must be thoroughly scrubbed prior to use. I slice off the roots first, then work my way up. At the point where the leaves fan out is where I carefully separate the leaves and make sure dirt has not embedded itself in them from irrigation or however dirt gets to its destination. Though probably the dirt is more healthy for consumption than some of the processed foods.
A new way of serving vegetables that I am experimenting with is roasting them. While I suppose the most healthy way of eating them is raw, roasting is a close second. Here is a recipe for Oven Roasted Leeks. While I haven’t tried it yet, it seems like the broth would really make it scrumptious.
One recipe I serve almost every week is Kristin’s Potato and Leek Soup. Not only are the leeks pulverized as small as they can go, after being cooked, then blending half of the soup. So my texture issues are mostly alleviated.
Another recipe that looked really good that I really should try is this Leek and Herb Frittata. Frittatas go over pretty well here, maybe its the eggs! I mean, how can you go wrong with eggs?
This Squash & Leek Lasagna is great for those new diets this month. Who doesn’t like lasagna? I think that a warm lasagna is so comforting during cold winter days.
In addition, here’s a recipe for Potato Leek Pizza. All kids like pizza. This could be the key to getting your kids to eat more healthy. Throw on a little cheese, and you are all set…
It is so surprising that this seemingly versatile leek can also create desserts! You can eat dessert and utilize those Leek Health Benefits at the same time! How cool is that? Try this Sweet Potato and Leek Custard. Who would have ever thought of leeks in a custard? Shh, don’t tell anyone!
What about this Leek and Potato Cake? My mouth is starting to water now. I need to make this one for the family one of these days. Maybe I will have to get a tart pan. Would you believe I’ve never made a tart?
It is important to note that leeks contain allicin. This is the antioxidant that is released about 5 minutes after chopping. I realize we are all busy busy busy, and the kids are already crying for dinner. When I make the potato and leek soup I mentioned above, I pulverize all the leeks, and then prep my potatoes. Consequently, this allows the leeks their important resting time to utilize those leek health benefits.
Ready to start cooking? Get these fresh leeks shipped right to your door!
Leeks have a long growing season, as it takes them awhile to get their desired size. They love fall and winter, which is probably why I am seeing so many of them in my produce box this time of year. Suggestions include that gardeners start their seedlings indoors, as early as January or February. So time to get hopping! Get seeds shipped right to your front porch!
If you grow leeks, you can wait to harvest them. They will lie in wait in the dirt until you are ready for them. If you do not grow them, like myself at this point, they like being stored in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. Most noteworthy, it is not advisable to wash them prior to storing.
My Final Thoughts…
In conclusion, as I look over all these fabulous recipes utilizing the leek, it seems like I need to broaden my horizons. I don’t really need to have Potato and Leek soup every week. As long as I don’t have to eat onions…
So while leeks were not part of my childhood cuisine, I am grateful they are now part of my weekly menus. I am so happy to have introduced them to my children. And my poor husband is along for the ride. Oh, well. Are you ready to have a healthier you, and feed your family more nutritiously in the New Year? Time to get your leek on with Leek Health Benefits.
What have you used leeks for? Let me know in the comments.