Leeks belong to the family of onions and scallions but are just bigger and slightly sweeter.
It is a widely used vegetable because it goes along well with refreshing soups, salads, and different varieties of dishes due to its subtle, yet amazing flavor.
Leeks can also be used as a simple garnish on top of every recipe.
Due to this vegetable’s versatility, some people prefer to buy it in bulk.
However, we all know that if you buy bulk vegetables or fruits, you must know how to properly store them, or else they will rot.
So if you’re wondering how to properly store leeks to preserve their freshness, then this article is of good use to you.
How to store leeks
How to store leeks will depend on their freshness. If they are freshly bought from the store, leeks can last between 5 to 14 days. You can either store it in the fridge, freeze it, leave it at room temperature or store it in a container. Leeks need to be washed thoroughly first so that soil residue comes off. Also, washing it clean will prevent excess moisture from building up which may cause mold.
Proper ways to store leeks
1. Leeks stored in the fridge
When properly stored in the fridge, leeks can stay fresh up to two weeks. For this you will need a zip lock plastic, a damp cloth or paper towel, and a rubber band (for bundled leeks).
Wrapping them up in a dampen towel or paper towel before putting them inside the plastic bag will help retain their moisture.
If you’re storing bundled leeks, tie them up with a rubber band first. This will help preserve leeks for a maximum of two weeks.
2. Leeks stored in the freezer
If you have plenty of leeks to be stored and keeping them in the fridge is not possible, you have the option to store them in the freezer.
First, you need to blanch the leeks to maintain their fresh color and prevent them from tasting bad when used.
Then trim the dark green top part as well as the roots. You may also want to slice your leeks lengthwise or in moon-shape depending on how you want it to use them in your dishes.
After, drain and put them in a bowl of ice cold water to prevent the leeks from overcooking and becoming soggy.
The freezing process may take 1 to 3 hours. And when the leeks are totally frozen, you can finally put them in the ziplock bag. Frozen leeks are good to use for up to 3 months.
Note: When blanching the leeks, you have to boil some water first, then add a pinch of salt, before boiling the leeks for 30 seconds to a maximum of two minutes.
3. Leeks stored at room temperature
This may be the best option to preserve leeks because they will surely retain their freshness.
But of course they will not last as long as when freezing them. When storing leeks at room temperature, you have to strip off an excess layer or cut them in half before leaving them on the kitchen table or pantry.
4. Leeks stored in water
If you don’t want your leeks cold and frozen, you can store them in water instead.
This is also an easy method because all you need is a jar filled with cold water. Put the leeks into it then it will stay fresh for at least two days.
5. Leeks Stored in jars
Although this method requires more effort it enables for leeks to last for months.
Do this through a casserole that is big enough for all your leeks to fit it. Fill in with a sufficient amount of water, add a dash of salt, then boil everything.
This is similar to the blanching process which requires boiling for 30 seconds.
When finished, transfer the leeks in an ice bowl of water.
After letting them cool for a couple of minutes, drain the leeks completely before storing them in the jar.
Do not forget to close the lid tightly and keep them at room temperature. It should be too hot nor too humid.
If you have done the said process properly, your leeks in a jar can be used for up to three months.
6. Stored leeks in olive cooking oil
Olive oil can be used not just for healthy cooking, but also for storing veggies. When storing leeks through cooking oil, slice them in moon shapes.
Cook them using olive oil before placing them in a container to be kept frozen or refrigerated.
Cooked leeks in the fridge can be stored for up to 2 days, while frozen cooked leeks can be stored between 2 to 3 months.
How long can leeks last?
The quality and freshness of the leeks will depend on how long it sat at the market or shop and how well it has been stored.
If you’ve bought leeks that have yellowish and bristly leaves, expect that it will only last for a couple of days.
So no matter how properly you store it, it will rot or become mushy quicker than freshly-bought green leeks.
How will I know if my leeks have gone bad?
If you’re not checking your leeks from time to time, it can wilt or spoil faster than you expect.
Some signs of leeks rotting are: green leaves turning yellow, leaves becoming mushy and smelly.
If you do notice this on your leeks, discard them immediately to avoid bacterial growth.
When inside a container, you will know if your leeks are going bad if you notice mold in the container.
When being kept in the fridge for more than four days, you will notice leeks losing their color and becoming mushy.
In this case, it is safer to discard them since their quality will not be that good anymore.
How to choose fresh leeks?
The freshness of leeks will depend on how long it has been sitting at the store. If you’re choosing fresher leeks, their stalks are hard to the touch and have dark green tops.
Also, fresh leeks tend to have light green leaves and are free from bruises.
Leeks taste best when eaten fresh because frozen and refrigerated leeks will loose some of their texture and freshness in the process.
Sometimes you will need to store leeks for an extended time. Life is busy and so is your schedule.
Fortunately there are many ways how to properly store leeks described in this article.
Plan carefully before you buy leeks and make sure you pick the freshest ones.
You don’t want to waste any delicious veggies.