Does your recipe call for you to cut off the green part of the leeks and just toss them out? Is that a good call or not? Let us show you how you can save them from the garbage heap.
I believe leeks are one of the most underrated veggies there is.
They are delicious. Plain and simple.
Whether in soup or even just straight up eating them. Look at these buttered leeks.
Don't those look yummy!
Now when you find a recipe that calls for leeks, they all say to get rid of the green parts. I have a recipe that says to do just that.
That raises two questions - why and is there anything you can do for them?
Why Remove the Green Parts
The tops of the leeks are really tough. Like if you tried chewing them, people would wonder if you were a cow chewing it's cud.
This is why recipes call for you to cut them off and just use the white tender parts of the leeks.
Should you then just toss the greens or can you use them? Here are some ways to save them from the trash.
If you ever make homemade veggie or chicken stock and I think you totally should, then throwing in the green parts of the leeks in is a great idea. When you make stock you are straining it at the end, perfect for getting the flavor out of the greens without having to try and chew them.
Add to Soup
Keep the green parts large and put them into a soup. Even if you aren't going to strain the soup you will be able to easily grab the leeks out because they so large.
To make it even easier you could use some butcher twine or string to tie the pieces together and then just have one bundle to pull out.
Take the leaves and place them underneath chicken that you roast in the oven. This will impart some of the flavor to the chicken.
If you ever steam buns or dumplings in a bamboo basket, instead of lining a bamboo steamer with cloth or parchment paper use the leeks.
Another way to make them crispy is to try dehydrating them.
If you are going to take the time to do this I would recommend having a lot to do at once. You can combine the white parts as well and use the entire leek for the procedure.
The dehydrated leeks can be store for a long time and added to soups. Great to put on top of a salad.
Choose Smaller Leeks
Most of the leeks I find at the grocery store are monstrously huge. You probably could use them as a weapon in case someone broke into your house. Bigger isn't always better.
If you can try to find smaller leeks. These will often be more tender and you may not have the problem with the green tops being too fibrous. During the season, try your local farmer's market to look for small or baby leeks.
Freezing Leek Greens
Don't have enough green tops? Get a plastic resealable bag and place the leeks inside until you are ready to cut them. This is a great idea for stock making. The texture of the leeks doesn't matter anyway, so freezing does no harm.
What if the Tops are Turning Brown?
As leeks start going bad the tops are the first to turn bad. Usually starting at the top the leaves may start to brown or dry out. At this point I use as much of the leek that is still looking good and toss the rest.
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