Well, it’s full on winter up here these days! We’ve had multiple days of snow, have several inches on the ground and we’ve completed our final winter checklists! We’ve got a couple things left to talk about for the season as we wind down and today we’re tackling our leek harvest!
Leeks are definitely a long range crop for us. We start them a whopping 10-12 weeks to last frost and they’re usually one of the very final crops we pull from the garden! That’s a bit over six to seven months of growing time! For that reason, they definitely fall into the “passion grower” equation more than they are a a truly practical thing for many gardeners to grow, at least at high latitudes.
You might have gathered that we’re big fans of allium, given that we grow pretty much the gamut of them. Leeks fall into a very mild onion like flavor, making them excellent for more delicately balanced dishes where normal onions might overpower things. We also love them in our stocks as they create a more complex allium base, especially when combined with onions as well. They are also excellent in soups, creating light allium flavors balanced by a tasty vegetal backdrop. The classic recipe, of course, being leek and potato soup!
One of the pieces of advice you might receive is to “hill” (or raise up) the soil around the base of your leeks. This is purported to keep the white section of the leek white. And like with many tidbits of advice that surround gardening, it’s a complete lie and completely unnecessary! We haven’t used that technique in ages and never noticed any difference.
We preserve our leeks mostly whole, but cut to a consistent size. Like usual, we leverage the blanch and freeze preservation methods here, allowing us nearly a year of storage. It’s kind of funny, we have this perpetual note in our garden journal of “grow more leeks” as we often end up with less than we’d have wanted. Especially once we tear through our stock making. Once of these days we’ll figure out how much is enough, but for now, that “grow more” note stands!