Crop Spot: Michigan Leek Season 

Do you like onions but wish they weren’t so pungent? Leeks may be for you! The more mild allium is grown throughout Michigan and is available mostly in early Fall to late Spring. Their mild flavor is the perfect accompaniment to dishes like potato-leek soup and quiches. 

Local leeks from Homestead Hill CSA

Leeks in the Garden 

To grow leeks in your garden, review MSU Extension’s guide on How to Grow Leeks. Though not especially common in home gardens, leeks are hardy plants that grow best in well drained soil. For best results, don’t plant leeks where you’ve had other alliums like onions, shallots or garlic in the past two years. As the leeks grow, hill the soil to keep the edible whites white, and only harvest as needed, as leeks keep best in the ground. 

Leeks and Nutrition

According to Healthline, leeks are a great source of Vitamin A, which helps with vision and immunity, as well as Vitamin K. In addition to being tasty, they are also a good source of soluble fiber, keeping your gut happy.  

Leeks in the Kitchen 

Storing Leeks

MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh recommends storing leeks unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic to avoid having other foods affected by the allium odor. They will keep for up to two weeks stored in this manner. 

How to Cut Leeks 

Because leeks can grow in a way that traps sand and dirt in the layers, it’s a great idea to split the stalk in half directly through the root end and rinse carefully under cold water, opening up each layer to wash out any grit. From there, you can slice half moons horizontally across the stem. If making a dish like leek rings, simply cut the stalk into sections and wash the rings after separating. 

While the white and light green parts are generally what’s used in leek recipes, don’t throw the woody green ends away! These parts are also edible, although it’s often recommended to cook them much more thoroughly, or save them for making broth. 

Once your leeks are prepped, try our recipe for Cider-Braised Leeks with Bacon!

Have you found leeks at your local farm stand? Find a local source close to you with our Find Food and Farms Directory!

Claire Butler is the Content Strategy Specialist for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at [email protected].

Further Reading:

Resources: The Kitchen Garden by Alan Buckingham