Leeks. Those giant, green onion-looking things that seem like they came from the age of dinosaurs. What can we do with them? Do they taste good? Are they exclusive to potato and leek soup? All these questions and more will be answered in this week’s edition of “What’s Growin’ Canada? “, where we cover everything about these delicious members of the onion family. Check out the interesting facts, recipes, and more below! 

Whole Leek and Chopped Soaked Leeks on a cutting board with knife.

Where Are They Grown?

Ontario leeks are grown both, in the north and southern regions of Ontario near the waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario. They are also grown domestically in farms throughout Canada and are a plant that’ is ‘s commonly found and foraged in the wilderness. These hearty veggies are available and harvested throughout the fall and winter seasons where you begin to see them popping up at our stores from the produce markets.

A farmer is holding leek while standing in his field.

At the Store 

Leek's grocery store.

When purchasing your leeks, there are a few things you should look for to ensure that you pick the freshest stalks. Quality leeks should be firm to-the-touch, smooth, and free of any bruising. Their colour should be vibrant and they should have a subtly sweet, oniony aroma. Look for bunches that have flat bottoms, as rounded bulbs can be a sign of an older crop.

Storage tips: 
  • Store your leeks in the fridge for use during the week. 
  • Make sure you trim any bruised or damaged leaves before storing. 
  • If you are looking to extend the life of your leeks, you can store them in the freezer. 
    • Pre-prepare them by washing thoroughly and then slice or chop according to what dish you are planning to use them for. 
    • Freezer bags are great space savers. Label them and store! 

Our In-store Leek Faves

Farm Boy™ Leek & Potato Soup

Made fresh by our chefs in small batches, our soup is packed with high-quality ingredients and comforting flavours. Enjoy it with a buttery, grilled baguette for a bistro inspired meal.

Mushroom, Truffle and Leek Ravioli
Farm Boy™ Mushroom Leek & Truffle Ravioli

We make our Fresh Gourmet Pastas with a traditional Italian recipe using durum semolina flour. Serve with sauteed mushrooms and a rich cream or butter and sage sauce for a decadent main course.

Ways to Enjoy Them 

freshly cut leek in a colander. In close-up.

Leeks have a mild onion aroma and crisp texture that allows them to be used in a variety of ways. When cooked, they develop and exude a natural sweetness that can add a roundness of flavour to dishes that need a boost of umami. We can use these delicious veggies in the same way you would use onions, scallions, or wild ramps. In broths they develop a full-bodied flavour, when seared or grilled they have aromatic charr and caramelization, and when braised or roasted they have a crisp, but soft texture with an oniony sweetness. Though more commonly used in soups, this marvelous cousin of the onion and garlic plant can be enjoyed in a great variety of ways!

Preparation tips: 
  • Remove the outer leaves as they are quite tough to eat. 
  • Slice or chop your leeks to the desired cooking size. 
    • Thin slices are best for eating raw and garnishing. 
  • Wash thoroughly in a bowl with running water to remove dirt and debris. 
    • You will need to soak and drain multiple times. 
    • Drain excess water when sauteing or frying to avoid unwanted pops and burns.  
  • Save the tops for stocks, broths, and sauces! 

Dishes and Sides to Try!

  • creamy potato and leek soup in bowl
  • Grilled baby leeks in clay bowl isolated on white
  • Rib eye steak with vegetables
  • Kale and Leek Soup
  • delicious cheese sauce with fried leek
  • Chicken Leek Curry with Roasted Sweet Potato: A perfect entrée that utilizes the leek’s sweetness in the sauce and as a textural component. The spices absorb into the leeks to create wonderful bursts of umami in every bite.
  • Homemade vegetable soup made from leek, potatoes and carrots close-up in a bowl. horizontal
  • Healthy vegan kale, grilled leek, and white beans salad
  • Leek Quiche
  • Leek and cheese tart on gray background

Leek Facts poster with leeks in the background

Did you know? 

  • Leeks date back to the Bronze Age (4000 BC). 
  • They were eaten by those who built the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids. 
  • Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, prescribed leeks to cure nosebleeds. 
  • They aren’t as pungent as onions. 
  • Tops and scraps can be used for stocks and broths. Simply freeze and save them for later. 
  • They are the national emblem of Wales. 
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