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Vegetables facts & Tips 8: Leeks (Expanded and amended)


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

Recent research has demonstrated that They are an effective cure against colds 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), B2, B8, Potassium, Calcium (in big amounts!), Iron, Manganese, vegetal fibers.

-Fatter specimens will have more taste.
-Choose specimens with a “wet” bottom cut.
-If you use large specimens 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”.

“Koshizu”, another common and popular variety.

A choice specimen originting 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 soups and “nabe” (Japanese-style pot-au-feu)

“Aka Negi”
Red Leeks in Japanese, soft with little pungency. Considered as a delicacy.


-Combined with Juda Ear Mushrooms, or sardine, or mackerel, or seaweed, heolps lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevents blood vessels hardening.

-Combined with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, or Japanese sake, or ginger, or shiso/perilla, helps prevent and cure colds, combats ageing and helps recovery from diseases.

-Combined with onion, or cucumber, or garlic, or Judas’ Ear mushrooms, helps blood flow and combats blood clotting.

-Combined with seaweed/wakame, or sweet potato, or lotus root, helps combat constipation and obesity.

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