LEEKS belong to the lily family, along with onions, garlic, scallions, and chives. Leeks taste and smell milder than onions and sweeten as they cook. In the Northeast leeks take several months to mature. They are planted in the spring and are harvested in the fall and winter months.

Storage: Store leeks unwashed and untrimmed wrapped in a damp cloth or paper towel, in the refrigerator. They will keep for 2-3 weeks stored this way.

PREPARATION: The dark green leaves of the leek are too tough to eat. Cut the leek just before the light green stem begins to darken. Discard the leek top or use it for soup stock. Trim the roots of the white bulb-end and peel off the outside layer. Cut the trimmed leek in half or in rounds and rinse thoroughly under running water.  Dirt and sand tends to collect deep in the leaves, so make sure you rinse them well. You can also chop the leek, soak in a bowl of warm water, and agitate with your fingers to loosen dirt between the layers.  When leeks are fresh you can use most of the light green leaves and the white stem (down to the roots). If the leek seems tough, only use the lightest part.  Leeks can be eaten raw, but they are best cooked. You can bruise, steam, grill, sauté or roast leeks. They are also a great addition to salads, casseroles, stews, stocks, stir-fries and quiches. Use them anywhere you would use onions, although their delicate sweet flavor deserves its own special recognition