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What is the origin of Leek ?

The lilaceae family includes the leek, which is a relative of the onion. It has been consumed since ancient times and comes from Central Asia. It was on the menu of the Egyptians, and subsequently the Romans, who were gastronomic forerunners, utilized it liberally in their cuisine, particularly at their grand feasts.
Leeks were first cultivated in Europe during the Middle Ages, and they are still a beloved vegetable today. It is the national vegetable of Wales and featured on the country's logo. With the advent of the first immigrants, the cultivation of leeks extended to North America. The leek, which is both a vegetable and a condiment, has long added a distinctive aroma to a broad range of recipes.
Plants of the genus Allium now belong to the Alliaceae family, according to the new botanical nomenclature. They're still classed as liliaceae or amaryllidaceae on occasion.
The name “poireau” first appeared in the French language in 1268 as a change of the word “porreau,” which previously defined this vegetable, due to the impact of “poire.” Furthermore, it is still occasionally used in the French countryside. The classic leek soup was known as “porée” in the Middle Ages. Surprisingly, the Swiss chard, which has nothing to do with the leek, came to be known as “Poirée” because it was a vegetable that was frequently used in the pot. Keep in mind that leeks are often referred to as “poor man's asparagus.”
To commemorate a historic victory, the Welsh selected the leek as their badge. They had placed a leek inside their helmets to identify one other during this pivotal combat. The Celtic Church's bishop would have come up with the notion. He is now known as Saint David, the patron saint of the nation. The day after his death (March 1) was designated as St. David's Day, which is commemorated by the wearing of a leek.
Leeks are native to the Middle East and Southwest Asia, just like onions and garlic. Several millennia before our time, it would have been domesticated there. The Greeks and Romans propagated the leek throughout Europe after adopting it. Nero's favorite meal, it appears, was the leek, which he would have ingested on a daily basis to keep his voice chords in good shape. The tyrant ruler was also given the moniker “porrophage” (leek eater).
From the end of the 18th century, settlers and Native Americans in America grew it. However, it will never have the same relevance in Europe as it has in Asia. It is mostly grown in the middle and west of Europe. Half of the leeks consumed on the continent are grown in France and Belgium alone.
Originally a bulbous plant, like onion and garlic, the leek has evolved into what it is today as a result of gardener selection. They attempted to lower the size of its bulb and expand the length of its white bole in comparison to the green leaves from the beginning.


What Are The Nutritional and caloric values ​​of The Leek ?

Leeks provide various nutritional advantages since they are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant components. It, like all liliaceae plants, is uniquely equipped with specialized preventive actions against various malignancies.
Leeks are high in water but poor in energy. Carbohydrates, namely fructose and glucose, account for the majority of its calorie intake. Leek white also includes sucrose, which gives it its sweet taste, as well as diuretic sugars ( fructosans ).
This vegetable contains vitamins from the B group, vitamin K, provitamin A, and vitamin C. Provitamin A and vitamin C are more abundant in the green ends than in the white region.
Its constitution water contains a variety of minerals and trace elements, including iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, selenium, and potassium.
It also includes antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
It also has sulfur compounds in it (compounds of one or more sulfur atoms ). They are responsible for the scent of the vegetable and contain health-protective properties when released when it is sliced.
The fibers of the white leek are mostly made up of mucilages (containing pectins), which are responsible for its soft consistency. The bulk of the green sections include celluloses and hemicelluloses, which accelerate intestinal transit.
Leeks provide several health advantages due to their high nutritional content. Indeed, the folate found in leeks plays an important part in the cell division mechanism, which is required for the organism to operate properly. Folate therefore helps to:
the metabolism of amino acids, such as homocysteine, and blood components, a key function of the body; the functioning of the immune system, that is, the organism's defense; psychological activity; maternal tissue growth during pregnancy; tiredness reduction
Leeks contribute to this by being a source of copper:
the protection of cells against oxidative stress, the battle against free radical cell aggressiveness, the role in cell aging; normal immune system, energy metabolism, neurological system, iron transport in the body; maintaining connective tissue and skin and hair pigmentation
In addition to these health advantages, due to the presence of sulfur compounds and antioxidants in its composition, leek has been the focus of several scientific investigations. According to certain findings, these chemicals may have a preventive effect against some malignancies, such as bowel cancer. Other findings point to the leek's ability to decrease harmful cholesterol levels in the blood. However, further research is needed to corroborate these findings.
Nutritional and caloric values ​​of The Leek
For 100 g of Leek:

Name of constituentsUnityAverage content
Dietary fiberg0.8
Saturated FA(fat acid)g0.0216
Monounsaturated FAg0.0024
Polyunsaturated FAsg0.0888
Total ironmg0.88
Beta caroteneµg389.6
Vitamin Dµg0
Vitamin E activity (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.4
Vitamin Cmg3.36
Vitamin B1 or Thiaminemg0.0208
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavinmg0.16
Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacinmg0.24
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acidmg0.576
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxinemg0.0904
Vitamin B9 or Total Folateµg19.2
Vitamin Kµg20.32

Why should you eat Leek ?

Winter veggies include leeks. It's especially delicious in October, November, and December.
The National Health Nutrition Program suggests eating at least 5 servings (of at least 80 g) of fruits and vegetables each day and taking advantage of seasonal variability. One serving of vegetable is two full tablespoons of prepared leeks; one giant leek or two tiny ones equals one serving of vegetable.
Vitamins, antioxidant chemicals, and fibre found in fruits and vegetables all play an important part in maintaining good health. A high intake of vegetables and fruits has been demonstrated in several studies to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other disorders.
The Liliaceae family of vegetables (leek, onion, garlic, shallot, chives) is thought to have a preventive effect against stomach and bowel malignancies.
Leeks have diuretic qualities due to their high potassium/sodium ratio as well as the presence of particular carbohydrates called fructosans.
Although the nutritional makeup of the leek varies somewhat depending on whether it is consumed raw or cooked, it provides several health advantages.
For a quantity of 100 grams of raw or cooked leek, the ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health Safety) reference values are as follows:

ComponentsQuantity for raw leekQuantity for cooked leek
Calories (kcal)29.224.6
Proteins (g)2.080.81
Fat (g)0.280.2
Carbohydrates (g)3.353.28
Vitamin B6 (mg)0.3470.060
Vitamin B9 (µg)91.554.5
Vitamin C (mg)174.15
Copper (mg)0.0450.211
Iron (mg)0.752<0.7
Manganese (mg)0.1230.2
Potassium (mg)281148

The advantages of Leek in terms of micronutrients

Onions and garlic are in the same family as leeks. It's a hardy veggie that may be found on market booths all year. Its mild taste makes it a great complement to soups and salads. It is presently France's tenth most popular vegetable.
Characteristics of Leek
Low in calories, high in fiber, high in antioxidants, high in vitamin C and B9, and protective against some malignancies
Leeks provide a plethora of nutritional advantages that are not to be overlooked.
** Because it's high in water, it's diuretic.
The leek has a high water content, allowing it to contribute to our daily water requirements. Leeks are a diuretic food that are high in potassium and low in salt.
** Fiber-rich food
Leeks have a lot of fiber, which helps to promote and regulate intestinal transit.
** Immune system stimulation
Vitamin C, which is found in leeks, boosts the immune system, aids in the creation of collagen and the appropriate functioning of the neurological system, and aids in iron absorption.
** Antioxidant-rich food
It includes sulfur compounds and antioxidants that help to prevent cancer in certain people.
** B vitamins which is essential for good health.
Vitamin B6 is found in leeks and has a function in energy, the neurological system, protein synthesis, red blood cell creation, and weariness reduction.
** It is a source of vitamin B9, which enables cell regeneration and is particularly beneficial to pregnant women for the development of the fetus, as well as growing youngsters and convalescents.


How can you choose the finest Leek and properly store it?

The leek stem should be straight, meaty, sturdy, gleaming white, and free of brownish blotches. The leaves should be bright green and not yellowed or dried out.
The varieties are determined by the harvest season. Early leeks are those picked between early May and early July. They are thin and little, but leeks gathered in the fall and winter are thicker and bigger.
Vitamins and minerals abound in leeks. To preserve as many minerals and vitamins as possible when cooking, steam it rather than boiling it in water.
Leek green should not be overlooked since it has a lot of nutritional value, especially due of its beta-carotene content.
When harvested, the leek is made up of sheathing leaves that form a cylinder at the base, with the buried half, which is white and sensitive, being the most prized.
** To Keep it in good condition.
Leeks may be kept in the refrigerator for two to three months at temperatures around freezing and high relative humidity. Its leaves will very likely turn yellow, but the white will stay strong. The little early leek, on the other hand, may only be preserved in the refrigerator for one or two weeks.
Before freezing, cut them into slices and blanch them for a few minutes in hot water. Keep some of the green leaves frozen for the broths.


How to Prepare Leek ?

Leeks are a popular winter vegetable with a peak season from September to April. Despite this, it is widely accessible all year at market and grocery booths.
Leek may be kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days in the vegetable drawer. It's better to chop off the tips of the leaves before putting them on the tray. If you wish to store the leek in the freezer, blanch it for a few minutes in hot water before freezing it.
To select a high-quality leek, look for one with upright and sturdy leaf, as well as a distinct color.
It is possible to choose a leek with a protected geographical indicator (PGI), such as the Créance leek, as a quality assurance.
Because 51.5 percent of non-organic leeks include pesticide residues, it is also advisable to choose a leek from organic cultivation.
Leeks can be prepared in a variety of ways.
What's the best way to prepare it? What is the best way to match it?
Initial, cut the root and remove the first peel.
Cut the leek in half, from the tail to midway up the stem, and wash thoroughly to remove any grit or mud.
Sections, slices, or diagonals can be cut. Cut into pieces, divide, then slice longitudinally to make julienne strips. Because the green leek is considerably more fibrous than the white, it should be finely chopped before using in prepared meals. Save the green component for the broths if you don't want to prime it.
Leeks can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways:
Choose a fresh and sensitive leek for raw eating, then chop it finely to include it into a salad, for example.
Cooked leek is more common than raw leek, and it may be prepared in a variety of ways, including cooking in water, steam cooking, cooking in a pan, or even frying in a pan.
The leek can be used in soup, pie, gratin, or even as a garnish with meat or fish when prepared this manner.
** Young leeks can be eaten raw with a pinch of salt. Slice them into slices, then separate them into rings. They'll adorn lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and cucumber slices. Leeks, raw and sliced, are a great addition to salads with potatoes.
** Serve the leek with beets as an appetizer, steamed and drizzled with vinaigrette.
** In omelets, quiches, and soufflés;
** Served with spaghetti;
** In the garni bouquet;
** Grilled on the grill or in a skillet;
** Vinegar of leeks. For 10 days, macerate a few slices of fresh veggies in vinegar. This will provide a unique taste to the dressing. It may be used to deglaze a pan.
** Soup with leeks and potatoes, as is customary. Cook the leeks and potatoes in water before blending everything together. Season with salt and pepper, and you're done! Cook the veggies in chicken broth for variation.
** Simply segment the leek and boil it in salted water. Then season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, Gruyère or Emmental cheese, and a thin layer of breadcrumbs, and bake for about ten minutes in a gratin dish;
** Coat fish, seafood, or meat in a coulis. Cut the green portion of the leek into slices and sauté in butter until soft. Then strain off the cooking fluids and combine with a little crème fraîche or yogurt for a more tangy taste. Season with salt and pepper, and thyme if desired;
** The flamiche is a northern French leek pie. Spread a preparation of leek white cut into thin slices, cooked in butter and a little water, and decorated with crème fraîche in a puff pastry or shortcrust pastry. Add a couple slices of bacon that have been dried in a pan. Pour egg yolks and a whole egg over the leeks, along with sour cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes. If desired, top with grated cheese.
** Cachat, a goat's milk cheese seasoned with juniper distillate or a leek infusion, is created in the Piedmont area of Italy.


What are Leek contraindications and allergies?

A person who is sensitive to one of the liliaceae kinds (leek, garlic, onion, chives) may also be allergic to other members of this family.
Leek allergy is uncommon, although it is not advised in situations of urolithiasis.
Urinary calculi
Some persons may be recommended to follow an oxalate-restricted diet to avoid the recurrence of kidney or urinary stones (also called urolithiasis). Oxalates are naturally occurring chemicals present in a variety of foods, including leeks. As a result, it is not suggested that these folks ingest it.
Cases of leek allergies have been reported seldom. However, a person who is allergic to other plants in the alliaceae family may have a reaction to eating leeks. Cross reactions with garlic, onion, chives, and leeks are likely, and might be triggered by an allergy found in these veggies. A person who is allergic to one of these foods may also be allergic to another food in this family.