Friday, August 21, 2015

Seed to Table Series-Leek



Welcome to our Summer Series,
Seed to Table.
Every Friday, we'll explore a different crop
that you can grow in your own garden.
Whether you're in mid-harvest, already looking ahead to your fall garden,
 or just thinking about growing your own,
we hope this series inspires you.
We'll begin with planting from seed or seedling,
and end up with a scratch recipe. 

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Leeks are a lovely addition to any food garden.
A member of the onion family,
they are much milder than table onions or scallions,
and add a delicate flavor to most dishes.




Leeks are easy to sow from seed.
They require a long growing period,
(anywhere from 70 to 120 days
depending on the variety),
so starting seeds indoors in most areas of the country is recommended.



Once they get going,
there's no stopping them.
They can be transplanted in the ground
or into outdoor pots as soon as temperatures warm up.


  
The plants are usually spaced about 6 inches apart,
but at Faye and Lynn's container farm,
they are grown three to the pot
with much sucess.
The benefit with growing in pots
is that the leek can be "hilled" a couple of times,
thus creating the much desired white portion of the stalk.
Once harvested, most of the plant can be used.
If I'm not using it right away,
I chop it up and place it in the freezer,
where they'll keep for months.
Just be sure to thoroughly rinse the stalks in water,
as soil or sand can become lodged between the layers.

 

 Leeks can be grown almost year-round.
They prefer the cooler temperatures,
but will do just fine into early spring
and right through the winter.
The advantage with growing during these times
is that there are less pests to worry about.
In fact, leeks have very few pest problems.

 

 Although they take their time growing,
you'll be rewarded with the most tender
and succulent gift from your garden.
After all, some things are worth the
wait!

 

Magic Mineral Broth (modified)
 4 unpeeled carrots, cut in large chunks
2 unpeeled potatoes, cut in large chunks
1/2 C leeks, greens & whites, sliced
2 big cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/2 C parsley
2 t salt
1 bay leaf

Place ingredients in large stock pot and fill halfway with water.
Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer
and cook for at least two hours.
Strain over sieve or cheesecloth.
Enjoy!