5 reasons to grow leeks
The most tender of onions, the king of gourmet dishes, a favorite of healthy nutrition and simply indispensable as a side dish leek - a plant that you can not only buy. Leek is often perceived as an overseas delicacy, but it grows well even in the middle lane. Yes, in this region leeks will not work just to sow and wait for the harvest at the end of the season. It requires growing seedlings and patience. But the wait is worth it! Indeed, leek grown independently, in addition to taste, also boasts benefits, freshness, and productivity.
Leek - a plant that "ours" on the beds in our country did not become. He is far from popularity ratings to simple onions, shallots and even chives. The thing is that the cultivation of leeks is so different from the cultivation of ordinary onions that many gardeners still do not dare to plant it. Troubles with seedlings, transplanting, leaving, and the truth, at first, seem too complicated at first. But it is worthwhile to study the plant closer to understand that leeks have a lot of advantages.
For example, the yield of leeks is several times higher than the yield of onions. Even with a few short rows, you can get enough stems for cooking for many months.
Leekhe pearl bow and just leek (in English - leek) - a unique two-year-old representative of the genus Allium (Allium) and one of the most ancient cultures. It was considered absolutely indispensable in the days of Ancient Egypt just because of its high productivity.
It develops not quite usual for onions and is not accidentally included in the list of stem vegetables, because the most valuable part of leek is the “leg”. The leeks and the onion and the stem are false.
In the first months it grows slowly, increasing the rhizome and "fan" of leaves. Young shoots differ only in flat leaves from ordinary green onions. The wrapper bases of 8–13 successively arranged, fan-shaped, linear-lanceolate, dark green flat leaves form a false stem cylinder.
This light green, below the soil is a whitish, stem-shaped leg rises to a height of 80 cm. Leek stalks thicken gradually, reaching from 2 to 8 cm in diameter. At leeks, leaves are also consumed, but still the bleached part of the stems is considered overvalued.
When leeks are called the softest onions, they do not hint at its insufficiently expressed useful properties. It has a very mild taste and a special texture, which also delicately affects the work of many body systems.
Leek is one of the most “vitamin” leafy and stem vegetables. With only 33 kcal per 100 g of weight, leeks will replenish the diet with 2 g of protein, 8 g of carbohydrates and 2 g of high-quality fiber.
But the main advantage of leek is its strikingly high mineral content. This onion contains magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and sulfur. Regular use of leek as a supplement to the main “vegetable” set allows you to minimize the risk of deficiency of these minerals, which are extremely important for the normal functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular system.
Thanks to the perfect combination of "potassium-calcium-magnesium" leek is often called a "female" vegetable and is recommended to be included in the menu in case of hormonal imbalance and metabolism.
Only minerals benefit leeks are not exhausted. It boasts a high content of no less important thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid. The stock of ascorbic acid in Pore is not only unique, but also almost doubles during storage (40 mg of vitamin C for every 100 g of mass is a record). Leek also has a high content of vitamin A and natural sugars.
This is one of the most useful vegetables for disorders of the liver and gastrointestinal tract. Regular consumption of leek improves appetite, reduces the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis, and helps reduce the effects of overwork and stress. Leek is considered one of the best components of the diet for atherosclerosis and circulatory disorders.
3. Nutritional value
Delicate, delicate, only slightly islandy, several times more delicate than that of green onions, the taste and aroma of leeks are its main advantage that determines its use. When cooking, it becomes soft and tender, melts in the mouth, and keeps its “shape” perfectly.
Leek is famous primarily for its Mediterranean cuisine. But even in Asia it is impossible to imagine a daily menu without it. At the same time, leek is used both as an addition, taste accent, and as the basis for dishes. Leek is cut into rings, cylinders and strips.
Leeks can be eaten raw, pickled and even dried. But all its taste is fully disclosed only by heat treatment. You can evaluate how tasty this onion is if you cook the leek correctly - reveal its bright color and delicate texture after steaming, baking, stewing and stewing in sauces (especially milk and cream).
It can be used in soups, added to sauces, used as a side dish - separately or with other vegetables, stuffed, and also added as a seasoning and decoration. Leek is one of the best side dishes for fish and an indispensable addition to cream soups.
Even the external “hard” leek leaves that are removed are not necessary to throw away. From them you can get an excellent replacement for twine for rolls, fillings, replacement of parchment, dough and foil for wrapping (for example, for cooking seafood, fish or meat in envelopes).
4. Long harvest
Leek does not require a completely onion approach to growing. It is more reminiscent of stem vegetables, in particular celery, according to its rules of care.
Leek is grown in open ground and greenhouses only from seeds - both in a seedling-free way and through seedlings. The first option is not suitable for the middle lane, because the plants simply do not have time to pass even half of the growing season. Leek seeds are sown on seedlings early (in February-March), in individual containers, monitoring the temperature and soil moisture.
Read more about growing leeks through seedlings in our article Seedlings of leeks - from sowing seeds to planting in the ground.
It is not so difficult to find a suitable place in the garden for leeks: only sunny beds, neutral, drained and very fertile soils are suitable for it. For a good harvest, you need to regularly water the pearl onions, apply fertilizers several times and carry out the hilling to form the most delicious bleached thickened stem. Trimming the leeks with a larger diameter helps trimming the tops of the leaves and proper care.
Harvesting leeks is simple and enjoyable. It can be collected from August to October, left for winter and even spring (in the middle lane, leeks winter without problems under good snow cover, with hilling and protective mulching). Leek stalks are preserved whole, with leaves and slightly shortened roots, immersed in sand in cool, ventilated, dark rooms. And the benefits of leek only increase over time.
Leek blooms only in the second year, after flowering loses its “edibility” - it becomes tough. Despite its status of culture is exclusively “food”, leeks are one of the most attractively flowering onions.
It blooms at the height of summer, releasing peduncles to a height of 2 m, surprising the beauty of the spherical openwork umbrella of the inflorescence. At the beginning of growth, it is completely hidden by a large coverlet. White-pink flowers conquer with their long stamens.
This is a cross-pollinated plant. Leek seeds ripening after flowering are absolutely typical for onions - trihedral and wrinkled. If you leave the leek as a perennial, it forms decorative “wild” groups and begins to branch.
Dear readers! Leek can be found in any supermarket and vegetable shop all year round. But an environmentally friendly, high-quality and always fresh crop of this vegetable is not so difficult to grow yourself. And the taste of homemade leek does not compare!