How to Store Leeks

Leeks are part of a family of plants called alliums. They are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and chives. They are great for adding a sweet, onion-like flavor to soups, chowders, and other savory dishes. When fresh, they are also great additions to salads.

If you are going to cook with leeks, it is important to make sure you know how to properly store leeks so that they remain fresh until you are ready to use them. Luckily, leeks are super easy to store, and there are a variety of options for storing leeks. You can store them on the counter, refrigerate them, freeze them, and you can even dry them.

If you have recently purchased or picked a bunch of leeks, check out these tips on how to properly store them, how long they can be stored, how to know if they have gone bad, and more!

How to Store Leeks

How to Store Leeks Properly

The best way to properly store leeks is to cut off the green tops, wash them, cut them in half, and chop them. Then keep them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. This will allow you to keep them for a short time, but it will ensure that they are fresh when you are ready to use them.

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If you purchased your leeks and you do not have time to cut them before putting them in the fridge, you can put them in a mason jar with water. This is a great option for storing leeks if you are planning to use them shortly after you get them because the water will keep them green and fresh until you have a chance to wash and cut them.

Another option is to freeze leeks. In order to freeze leeks, you follow the same steps as putting them in the fridge, but instead of just throwing them all in a single bag, for best results, you will want to use a baking sheet first.

After you have cut and washed your leeks, you can either make clumps of small servings of leeks, or you can just lay them out flat, not touching each other on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Then put the baking sheet in the freezer until leeks are frozen. Remove leeks from the baking sheet and store them in freezer-safe bags or containers.

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It is important to point out that freezing leeks can make them mushy after they thaw, which means they are not ideal for salad toppings, but they can still be used to make a delicious soup!

The last option for storing leeks is to dry or dehydrate them. If you have a dehydrator, you can use that, but you can also easily dehydrate foods in the oven as well.

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To use the oven, wash, and cut leeks to the desired thickness, keeping in mind that the thinner they are, the less time they take to dry. Then spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer—set the oven to the lowest temperature setting (around 140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Leave leeks in the oven for at least 6 hours or until they are completely dry and crispy but not burnt. Dried leeks can be stored in an airtight container in your pantry or cupboard.

How Long Leeks Can You Store Leeks

The length of time which leeks can be stored depends on the method of storage, and that can be determined by how soon you plan to use them. For example, if you store them on the counter in water, they should remain fresh for a day or two. If you choose to keep your leeks in a bag in the fridge, they should remain fresh for up to two weeks.

If you have an excessive number of leeks or you want to store them for an extended amount of time, you should probably freeze them or dry them. Leeks can be stored in the freezer for up to three months if kept in a proper freezer-safe container that will help prevent freezer burn.

To maximize the life of your leeks, you can dehydrate them. Dehydrated or dried leeks can be stored for up to one year.

How to Store Leeks

How to Tell if Leeks Have Gone Bad

Leeks are a vegetable, so there are usually obvious signs of rot or mold when a leek has gone bad. If your leeks look slimy or feel mushy when you touch them, even if there isn’t mold on them, they have probably gone bad.

If you have dried your leeks or kept them in the freezer and you suspect they have gone bad, but there aren’t any visible signs that they have gone back, give them a good sniff. If they smell funny or smell a bit off, it is probably best not to use them.

In the end, remember: When in doubt, throw it out. As much as we hate to waste food, if there is even a small concern that your leeks may have gone bad, it is better to put your mind at ease and not use them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Leeks

We all make mistakes sometimes, but we want to help you avoid as many mistakes as possible. To help you out a bit, here are a few common mistakes that people make when storing leeks:

Putting Leeks in the Fridge Without Covering

Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, you guessed it. They have a smell. Though their smell doesn’t compare to a freshly cut onion, the odor from leeks can have the same effect as onions on your other foods. Especially foods like cheese and butter can absorb the smell of the leeks, and this can alter their flavor.

Always make sure you store leeks in a plastic bag or container.

Storing in a Humid Room

If you are going to store your leeks in water on the counter, it is best if you keep them in a cool and dry place. If you know your kitchen is always extremely hot, maybe put them on the dining room table. Heat and humidity will cause leeks to wilt and quickly lose their freshness.

Conclusion

Leeks are great for all sorts of meals, and they are super easy to store! Whether you have one that you want to keep fresh until dinner later in the week or a garden full of them that you want to keep for the winter, it is really hard to mess up storing leaks, especially with these simple tips!