Leek: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. ampeloprasum
Subspecies: A. ampeloprasum var. porrum
Trinomial name
Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
(L.) J.Gay

The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.), also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to the Alliaceae family. Two related vegetables, the elephant garlic and kurrat, are also variant subspecies of Allium ampeloprasum, although different in their uses as food.

The edible part of the leek plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths which is sometimes called a stem or stalk.



Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths which are generally blanched by pushing soil around them (trenching). They are often sold as small seedlings in flats which are started off early in greenhouses, to be planted out as weather permits. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy; many varieties can be left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed .


Leek cultivars can be subdivided in several ways, but the most common types are “summer leeks”, intended for harvest in the season when planted, and overwintering leeks, meant to be harvested in the spring of the year following planting. Summer leek types are generally smaller than overwintering types; overwintering types are generally more strongly flavored. Varieties include King Richard and Tadorna Blue.


Leek field in Houthulst, Belgium

Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the field for an extended harvest. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months, and they have few pest or disease problems. Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Hilling leeks can produce better specimens.


Leeks for sale.

The edible portions of the leek are the white onion base and light green stalk. The onion-like layers form around a core. The tender core may be eaten; but, as the leek ages, the core becomes woody and very chewy and better replanted than eaten.

Leek has a mild onion-like taste, although less bitter than scallion. The taste might be described as a mix of mild onion and cucumber. It has a fresh smell similar to scallion. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm.

Leek is typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:

  • Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
  • Fried, which leaves it more crunchy and preserves the taste.
  • Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.
  • A traditional Welsh cawl (a form of soup) is made with leek; the cawl is made using root vegetables such as swede, carrots and potatoes and different meats. Lamb is the most popular. Cawl has been enjoyed by the nation since the 14th century and has great significance to the ancient Welsh King Gruffydd ap Llywelyn.

Leeks are an ingredient of cock-a-leekie soup, leek and potato soup and vichyssoise, along with leek soup.

Because of their symbolism in Wales (see below), they have come to be used extensively in that country’s cuisine, while in the rest of Britain leeks have only come back into favour in the last fifty years or so, having been overlooked for several centuries.[1]

Historical consumption

Dried specimens from archaeological sites in ancient Egypt, as well as wall carvings and drawings, led Zohary and Hopf to conclude that the leek was a part of the Egyptian diet “from at least the 2nd millennium B.C.E. onwards.” They also allude to surviving texts that show it had been also grown in Mesopotamia from the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.E.[2] The leek was the favorite vegetable of the Emperor Nero, who consumed it most often in soup.

Cultural significance

Raw leeks, bulb & lower leaves
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 255 kJ (61 kcal)
Carbohydrates 2.9 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Dietary fiber 1.8 g
Fat 0.3 g
saturated 0.04 g
monounsaturated 0.004 g
polyunsaturated 0.166 g
Protein 1.5 g
Water 83 g
Vitamin A equiv. 83 μg (9%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.06 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.03 mg (2%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.4 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 0.233 mg (18%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 64 μg (16%)
Vitamin B12 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 12 mg (20%)
Vitamin E 0.92 mg (6%)
Vitamin K 47 μg (45%)
Calcium 59 mg (6%)
Iron 2.1 mg (17%)
Magnesium 28 mg (8%)
Phosphorus 35 mg (5%)
Potassium 180 mg (4%)
Sodium 20 mg (1%)
Zinc 0.12 mg (1%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, and is worn—or the daffodil (in Welsh, the daffodil is known as "Peter's Leek" - Cenhinen Bedr) - on St. David’s Day. According to one legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field. This story may have been made up by the English poet Michael Drayton, but it is known that the leek has been a symbol of Wales for a long time; Shakespeare, for example, refers to the custom of wearing a leek as an “ancient tradition” in Henry V. In the play, Henry tells Fluellen that he is wearing a leek “for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.” The 1985 and 1990 British one pound coins bear the design of a leek in a coronet, representing Wales.

Perhaps most visibly however is the leek’s use as the cap badge of the Welsh Guards, a regiment within the Household Division of the British Army.


See also


  1. ^ Jane Grigson, Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book, (Penguin Books, 1978, ISBN 0140468595) p 291
  2. ^ Daniel Zohary and Maria Hopf, Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 195.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Leek discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to leek article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

The vegetable leek



Wikipedia has an article on:



Middle English, from Old English lēac.





leek (plural leeks)

  1. The vegetable Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum, of the lily family, having edible leaves and an onion-like bulb but with a milder flavour than the onion.



See also


  • Anagrams of eekl
  • keel



Etymology 1

From Latin lāicus (layman, laic), from Ancient Greek λαϊκός (laikos), of the people), from λαός (laos), the people).


leek m. (plural leken, diminutive leekje, diminutive plural leekjes)

  1. A layman, non-clergyman
  2. A layman, non-expert, amateur
Derived terms
  • lekenapostolaat
  • lekenpersoneel
  • lekenrechter
  • lekenstand


leek, leke (comparative leker, lekere; superlative leekst, leekste)

  1. (obsolete) lay, worldly, secular, profane

Etymology 2

Germanic, cognate with German gleichen.

Verb form


  1. the singular present imperfect and imperative forms of lijken

Etymology 3

Germanic, cognate with lek, lekken and English (to/a) leak

Verb form


  1. the singular past imperfect form of leken


leek m. (plural leken, diminutive leekje, diminutive plural leekjes)

  1. A leak(ing)
  2. A drop

Etymology 4

Cognate with laak, Latin lacus, English lake.


leek (plural leken, diminutive leekje, diminutive plural leekjes)

  1. A small body of water, like a pool; gave rise to place names

Etymology 5

Unknown; local dialect in the Dutch region Betuwe.


leek (plural leken, diminutive leekje, diminutive plural leekjes)

  1. (botany) The plant Rumex crispus
  2. (by extension) Related plants of that genus: sorrel, dock
Derived terms
  • koeleek





  1. A blaze, flame, fire


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Heb. hatsir; the Allium porrum), rendered "grass" in 1 Kg 18:5, 2Kg 19:26, Job 40:15, etc.; "herb" in Job 8:12; "hay" in Prov 27:25, and Isa 15:6; "leeks" only in Num 11:5. This Hebrew word seems to denote in this last passage simply herbs, such as lettuce or savoury herbs cooked as kitchen vegetables, and not necessarily what are now called leeks. The leek was a favourite vegetable in Egypt, and is still largely cultivated there and in Palestine.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Facts about LeekRDF feed

Simple English

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. ampeloprasum
Subspecies: A. ampeloprasum var. porrum
Trinomial name
Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
(L.) J.Gay

Leek is a vegetable. It belongs to the same genus as the onion and garlic. It can be used for cooking.pcd:Poreau


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