Market Report for Sept. 7
It was another beautiful night for the Toledo Farmers' Market. Not only did the 12 vendors enjoy the beautiful night, the large crowd also did. Some of the items available at market were, potatoes, tomatoes, fresh and dried herbs, scrumptious bakery, eggs, radishes, summer, and winter squash, hot and sweet peppers, zucchini, onions, watermelons, grapes, honey, nut meats, eggplant, kohlrabi, green beans, edamame, jams, jellies, garlic, and leeks to mention a few.
So you ask, how do you fix a leek? That is not a leak-it is a leek. Well let me tell you all about them. Leeks, like garlic and onions belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these vegetables. The edible part of the leek is a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths, which is called the stem or stalk. The interesting thing is as the leek grows, the soil is pulled around the base of the plant, blanching the stem, making it white and tender. Summer leeks are intended for harvest in the season when planted, and over wintering leeks are to be harvested in the spring of the year following planting. Summer leeks are generally smaller than over wintering types. If you over winter leeks they need to be mulched heavily. This is the best way to store long-term leeks. In order to maximize the edible part of the plant, leeks should be planted in a trench that is between 8-12 inches deep. As the leek plant grows, the soil is pulled into the trench, creating the long blanched stem. As they mature, pull soil up around the plants to produce a longer blanched stem. To harvest a leek either dig or pull. Leeks have large root systems so digging is sometimes easier.
Leeks are a good source of Vitamins C&A, and folate. With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur containing nutrients, allium vegetables belong in your diet on regular basis. Many people are unfamiliar with leeks, how to cook, or how to include them into a healthier way of eating. To prepare leeks, choose firm stalks without withered tops. Remove tough, green tops, slice lengthwise, and rinse thoroughly to remove sandy soil. Cut leeks into very thinly slices. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to enhance their health promoting qualities. Leeks have a more delicate and sweeter flavor. Leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Purchase leeks that are of similar size, this will ensure more consistent cooking if you are planning on cooking the leeks whole. Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between 1-2 weeks. If you wrap them loosely in a plastic bag to help them retain moisture. Cooked leeks are highly perishable, and even when kept in the refrigerator they will only stay fresh for about 2 days.
A healthy way
to cook leeks
Heat 3 tablespoons of broth in 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet until it begins to steam. Add 1 pound of cut leeks. Cover and saut for about 4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of broth; reduce heat to medium low and saut for 3 more minutes uncovered while stirring frequently. Toss with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.
So now you know how to fix a leek. See you at market.