Vegetables Facts and Tips (8): Leeks


Leeks, or “negi” in Japanese, is an almost universal vegetable.
It is used in cuisine at restaurants and homes on all continents and has been recognized for ages as very beneficial plant.

Recent research has demonstrated that it is an effective cure against cold in particular, not only for humans, but for many animals, too.
Some people do not appreciate them because of their pungent smell and taste, but this can be taken care of with a couple of simple steps.

Back home in France, we boil the central part of fat leeks and eat them under the name of “poor man’s asparaguses”!

-Season: leeks can be bought all year round, but the best season is from November to February in the Northern Hemisphere.

-Main beneficial elements: Carotene (green part), Vitamin C (white part), Calcium, Vitamin B1 (beneficial for blood circulation).
It is not only efficient against colds, but also to the stomach and innards health.

-Fatter specimens will have more taste.
-Choose specimen with a “wet” bottom cut.
-If you use large specimen raw in salads, first cut 5=8 cm long sections, then cut them thin lengthwise and leave them some time in clean cold water. The pungency will greatly diminish.
-To chop leeks for cooking, cut them first in 5~10 cm sections, then cut them thin lengthwise and only then chop them crosswise.

There are innemurable varieties in the World, but I will introduce here the main varieties encountered in Japan:

The most common and popular variety

“Hakata Manno”:
A choice specimen raised in Kyushu Island

“Me” or “Hime”:
Could be called leek sprouts,too.
Eaten raw in salads, sushi, finger foods.

“Ito” or Thread Leek, used in the same way as “Me/Hime”.

“Koshitsu”, another common and popular variety.

A choice specimen origintaing from Kyoto.

“Kujo Hoso”. Same as above, but a lot thinner.

A short fat specimen popular for “nabe” and soups.

A fat variety with a short stem and long leaves. Popular with soupsand “nabe” (Japanese-style pot-au-feu)

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