Prized for their buttery, onion flavor, leeks are a popular addition to a variety of dishes including casseroles, soups, and sautés. However, because they are delicate, leeks are prone to bruising and decay! Sticking leeks in the freezer will definitely boost this vegetable’s shelf life. Yes, you can freeze leeks and we highly recommend you do so if you want a healthy supply of this flavorful veggie!
Image used under Creative Commons from THOR
As with all types of vegetables, the quality of leeks will affect its flavors after they are defrosted so selecting high-quality leeks is critical. Choose leeks that have dark green leaves and firm but pliable stalks. The stem and bulb should be white. Overall, the leeks should look crispy and fresh, not bruised, discolored or funky-looking.
What’s the Proper Way to Freeze Leeks?
Before you freeze the leeks, you have to clean each stalk thoroughly, removing grit and insects that might be stuck in between the leaves.
After cleaning the leeks for freezing, cut each stalk to about 1 ½ inches from the base. Give the cleaned leeks an ice bath, particularly the leaves to maintain its vibrant green color. Just fan the leaves, hold the bulb’s end and submerge the stalks in ice water. Chop the vegetable into smaller pieces, fill a resealable, freezer-safe bag or a rigid plastic container with the sliced leeks and mark each package with the date it was packed before sticking it in the freezer.
When frozen properly, leeks will keep for up to 12 months. Just make sure the temp is at 0ºF. Apart from re-sealable, freezer safe bags and plastic containers, you can also use glass containers and heavy-duty aluminum foil to pack the leeks. Just make sure the container has a tightly seal and it will protect the vegetable from bruising.
Image used under Creative Commons from Jay & Melissa Malouin
What’s the Proper Way to Defrost Leeks?
One benefit of using frozen leeks is that you don’t really need to defrost it to use. Just add the frozen leeks directly into the dish during cooking and it will thaw. It’s not recommended to leave frozen, leafy vegetable to thaw at room temps because the texture will turn soggy and the flavor, watered down. But if you must, thaw frozen leeks by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator.
Leeks are available all year long but the best-tasting ones are available during the winter season. If you love leeks then consider freezing them so you’ll always have stocks in handy!