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How to Clean Leeks

Leeks are dirt magnets and must be carefully cleaned


Georgia Glynn Smith/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Leek Cleaning and Preparation

Leeks are unfortunately more expensive in America than in Europe. This is due in part to the added labor needed to cultivate them properly. The soil is constantly piled up around the base of the leek to encourage a long, thin, white base. This growing method makes them a dirt magnet, so cleaning them thoroughly is extremely important or you'll end up with a gritty mess.

To prepare leeks to be sliced or chopped, trim off the root end and about 1/4 inch of the white base. Remove any ragged, coarse outer leaves and discard. Trim each of the darkest portion of the leaves down to the light green, more tender portion, leaving about 2 inches of green. The dark green trimmed leaves can be reserved for other uses.

Slice the leeks down the center and rinse under cold running water to remove all dirt and sand, being careful to get in between the leaves. Drain on paper towels and proceed with recipe.

To clean leeks for cooking whole, slice lengthwise about two inches up from each end, leaving a center portion intact to hold the leek together. Rinse under running cold water while separating leaves.

You may also slice them into 2-inch lengths and soak in a bowl of cold water. Swish them in the water to remove dirt, drain, refill bowl, and swish again until no more dirt is released. Drain and dry.

More about Leeks:

Leek Cooking Tips and Hints
How to Clean Leeks
Leek Selection and Storage
Leek Substitutions, Measures, & Equivalents
Leek History
Leek Lore and Legends
Leek Health Benefits
Leek Recipes
Leek Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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