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Leek And Shallot Add Flavor To Many Dishes

The Leek is one of the milder members of the onion family. It is also referred to as Allium Porrum. No one is quite sure of its origin. The wild variety is found today in the fields of Europe and Asia. It is also native to the southern Mediterranean coast and grows wild in England and Wales.

In North America, the Allium Tricoccum is found wild from New Brunswick to the state of Iowa. The roots, stalks and leaves were all used as food back in history, and the three parts of this onion family remain popular in culinary dishes today.

This onion member can be germinated indoors, in a cold frame or directly into the ground. This onion family member should be in a temperature of 72° to 75°F indoors to properly germinate. You could use some sand in the soil mixture as well. If you sow them directly in the ground the temperature of the ground should be at least 60°F.

The Leek

Three Leek Specimens

Roots And Stalks

The Root And Stalk Of Leek

Like any other garden, you need to properly plan and prep the area. You can read more about the P-P-P method by following the link at the bottom of the page. The ground should be properly tilled or aerated. The more you work the soil, the better results you will have.

Sowing Leek

A good method to sowing this onion family member is to dig small trenches about eight inches in depth. Cover the seeds about a half inch with the soil. Leeks will grow in most soil conditions but they should have a good nutrient base.

Once the seedlings have established their root systems, transplant them about six inches apart and in rows that are spaced about one and a half feet. Once you have thinned this specie out, you can take the soil and fill in the trenches. This will help the stalks develop.

Blanching Leek

The process of filling in a trench is called blanching. The stalks should be blanched about three to four inches. Leeks will reach their maturity when they are about two feet tall. Their diameter should be around an inch. The specie will be at full maturity anywhere from 75 to 110 days. Once they are fully matured, carefully dig with the roots and lift the entire plant out of the ground. If you live in a mild climate, the plants can remain in the ground down to 10°F.

There are two seasons for growing this type of onion. There is a short season that is sown in spring and should be harvested in the summer months. There is also a longer season, where you can sow after the last frost, and this is when leek can remain in the ground throughout the fall and into the winter months.

After the plants are removed from the ground, a cooling method can be done by putting the the plants in chilled water. You can store the entire plant for up to a week in the refrigerator.

If you have an area where the temperature remains around freezing, they can survive up to two to three and a half months. There should also be high humidity for best results. The one aspect Herbee and I like about this onion member is, you can use any part of the plant in culinary dishes today.

Leek Green Leaves

Leek Leaves

The broad green leaves and the blanched roots can be used in soups and salads.

We will make fresh vegetable soup and add this onion variety. It gives the soup a sweet flavor. To make this soup, I use an organic vegetable broth with fresh green beans, carrots, corn, squash, celery, a half clove of garlic, and some of this delicious onion.

This entire herb can also be used in salads and in France it is considered, "the poor man's asparagus."

The Leek is another one of the onion family that is easy to grow and can add a genuine sweet flavor to your food. The aroma is strong so be prepared for a few tears when chopping.


The Shallot is believed to have originated in the northwest part of Switzerland. It was grown in gardens and used in cooking. Europe began cultivating this member of the onion family, and today it is used for cooking all over Europe as well as the world. In the United States, it is grown mainly in the southern states.

Louisiana produces a large quantity of this herb or spice. The flavor has a delicate taste compared to other onion family members. It is planted in the early spring, and also in the late fall for a winter crop. The soil should be rich, well drained and also have a sand base. The roots form clusters of bulbs, which are called cloves. The bulbs can be purchased at a nursery or garden center.

Whole Shallot

A great characteristic of this plant specimen is at the end of the growing season, you can dig up the bulbs and separate them. They can then be replanted in autumn.

If the environment is favorable during the growing season, the Shallot will blossom and produce seeds for the next year.

The best time to harvest this plant is in the late summer. The tops will turn yellow and brown and begin to die out. The bulb should be fully matured before you dig it up.

The entire plant is dried by hanging it upside down in an open area. This process will usually take two to three days. Store the bulbs in a pouch or onion bag in a cool and dry area. If this process is done right, you will have the bulbs for the next growing season, as they will last up to one year.

Herbee's Hot Buzzing Shallot And Leek Products Landing Right Here For You

Shallot Bulbs

Six Shallot Bulbs

More Bulbs

Dutch Red Shallots

Cookbook Shallots & Onions

Cover of Cookbook For Onions, Shallots, Leeks, and Garlic

A clove or two chopped up with white or red wine, melted butter and some parsley is a popular butter accent in French dishes. This herb can be found in most food stores in the produce section. I feel this herb is great to have for cooking. It is a nice alternative to a white, red, or yes, even a Vidalia onion. Vidalia onions are very well known in the southern United States and have a sweet flavor to them.

The Shallot is smaller in size but the robust flavor makes up for the tiny size. Herbee and I would recommend this herb for cooking whether it can be grown, or imported to your geographic location.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Cooking Herbs --- How To Plan A Garden Using The PPP Method

Horseradish --- More Spices Besides Leeks and Shallots

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