01/06/2016 01:23 EST | Updated 01/06/2016 01:59 EST

Cooking In Season: How To Make Leeks Work For You

Don't confuse them with their cousins, green onions and scallions.

Leeks are a hardy vegetable available year-round in Canada.

Some people may confuse them with their relatives, green onions or scallions, because of their similar appearance, but leeks are actually a separate vegetable. It is true you can use leeks as a substitute for onions in a recipe, but leeks have a sweeter and milder flavour.

The dark green tops of leeks, though less commonly eaten, are great for your digestive health and gut flora — just another reason to give these green veggies a try this year!

Leeks are available throughout the year, but be on the lookout for larger leeks during the fall and winter months.

How To Choose Them

Leeks are hardy and should be tough in texture, so avoid those that are soft, or with browning or fraying on their dark green tops.

How To Store Them

Leeks must be stored in the refrigerator, but they will last for a couple of weeks, so there is no urgency to use them right away. Don't be tempted to wash your leeks before storing them, as water will make them less crisp.

How To Use Them

When you're ready to use your leeks, you'll have to wash them once they have been sliced to remove the grit between their layers. Once cleaned, they can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, omelettes or as a side dish. However, I chose to make leeks the star of this easy and delicious fritter recipe.

Easy Leek & Potato Fritters Recipe

Serves 4


3 leeks, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 eggs

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Chop leeks and wash in cold water to remove grit and dirt from the layers.
  2. In a large saucepan, boil potatoes in water until fork tender (about 10 minutes). Add chopped leeks during the last 2 minutes of boiling, then drain and put into large mixing bowl.
  3. With a potato masher, mash potatoes and leeks. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, mixing well.

  • Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. When oil is ready, add a handful of batter and flatten with a spatula to create a fritter shape.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, flipping as often as necessary.
  • Serve immediately while fritters are hot and crispy.
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