How to Freeze Leeks ? 5 Great Tips to Blow Your Mind
In a plenty of our favorite and luxury meals, we need leeks and celery to add and decorate the dish (fresh leeks, creamed leeks, sauteed leeks,..). Being acutely aware of its importance, we will introduce some great tips on how to freeze leeks.
No one will prefer to use the unfrozen leeks because of the essential hygiene and attractive presentation. Also, blanching and freezing activate enzymes that preserve your leeks longer and better.
What Do You Know about Leeks ?
Leeks usually appear in the fall and spring seasons. You can plant them when the fall starts, and they will grow up during the winter with the mild climates.
Then, you can properly harvest them in the spring. Besides, they can be planted in the spring and harvested in the early fall or late summer.
As a matter of fact, their green leaves and underground parts are both tasty edibles, yet they need different treatments in freezing for the future use.
Before You Freeze Them
You should pay attention to the fibrous roots of leeks. If the farmer sustainably harvested them, there is nothing left at its white base of the scallion-like bulb.
But if you find leeks attached with its string-base roots after digging up your abundant patch of the backyard, please slice them before further proceeding. The white and narrow bulb along with the purple-red stems should be chopped in a coarsely way before freezing.
However, you need to blanch its green leaves in advance. The blanching step can help its’ leaves keep the attractive green color. So, you do not need to worry that they will turn brown after freezing. Next, we will go to 5 fantastic tips how to freeze leeks.
5 Great Tips on How to Freeze Leeks Successfully
1. Selecting Leeks with High Quality
Many people wrongly recognize the leeks and large scallions. Please remember that the bulbs of the leeks are cylindrical and straight. You should look for dark green, crisp, fresh leaves as well as stalks which are pliable and firm.
The acceptable bulbs are white, and its white color extends 2 inches up its stalk. In fact, the medium-sized and small leeks taste best. Please ensure that your leeks come from the place where they were sustainably harvested. Otherwise, try to grow leeks by your own.
2. Cleaning Leeks
The first thing you should do is to slice leeks in half. Some of its outer greens can fall off as they tend to trap the dirt. Next, clean them under water and rinse off before checking for remaining dirt.
You may use your thumb through the leek’s looser edges to examine. Now, you can dice or slice the leeks. According to your preference, you can use them immediately or freeze them to save for later.
Do not forget to wash them carefully. This step will help you to remove small insects and grit which may be trapped among the fitted leaves. Simply do it by trimming the leek top before slicing the leek body into 1 inch from its base.
After drying the leaves, you can hold the end of their bulbs, swish their stalk end vigorously in the ice water sink. At last, chop or slice into much smaller size.
You should cut up leeks before freezing, so it is easier to find the saving space and suitable container.
3. Blanching Leeks and Freezing Leeks
Some people believe that it is not necessary to blanch leeks before freezing. However, most of the experienced cook prefer blanching steps as the best way to preserve leeks longer. To some extent, blanch a leek is quite quick, easy, and painless with following steps:
- Bring one large water pot to boil. Next, fill this large bowl with halfway full of the ice before adding water until it reaches 3/4 full. Now, place the colander in the sink.
- When waiting for such water to boil, slice and wash the leeks based on the above directions.
- While the water inside the pot may be at the rolling boil, add all leeks in. Stir as well as leave them for 50 seconds. During that period, their color will intensify almost immediately.
- Now, empty the above pot carefully and put it into the colander in the sink. Then, immediately dump drained leeks into the ice water bowl. By this way, the ice water stops cooking.
- If the leeks are cool enough to touch, dump back into that colander one more time before draining off.
There are two modern freezing methods for your choice. Tray Pack-Place is the first option which takes the leeks, puts on one cookie sheet before freezing. After having prepared leeks, transfer to suitable containers such as plastic bags. Seal, label then freeze.
This method indeed has the advantage of using tray packs to separate different types of vegetables. The remaining one, Dry Pack-Place divides pieces of leeks directly into several suitable containers before sealing and labeling the frozen vegetables.
4. Freezing Leeks Oil
You also can try another way of preserving leeks, apart from suggested tips. The primary requirement of this method might be making the leeks oil before freezing. To achieve it, first, blanch their leaves and puree the leaves, bulbs, and leeks in a food processor or blender.
Do not forget to add sufficient extra-virgin olive into the machine. After mixing, you will make the sauce (white sauce for example,...) or paste.
Fill cube trays of ice with the above leeks oil. Now, freeze and pop out such cubes before transferring to freezer bags or containers. Each cube is approximately one leek oil tablespoon. Alternatively, spoon or pour the leeks oil directly into some freezer bags.
You should put in sufficiently to cover its horizontal container surface. So, you have a pancake made of leeks oil for the long-term use.
5. Suitable Packaging
For better storage, freezer containers need be moisture as well as vapor resistant. They may not break or crack at the low temperatures.
The acceptable containers need to provide enough protection against the odors or flavors absorbed and be easy and comfortable to the labeling tasks.
The suitable packaging includes heavy aluminum foil, plastic bags at the freezer grade, glass containers or rigid containers made of plastic.
The maximum time for Storage of the leeks is about 12 months at 0ºF. If you want to refrigerate leeks, please remove the excess moisture. You can blot by using the paper towel.
Then, place them in the perforated bags as well as wrap them well in plastic for the additional storage of about 2 weeks.
The way of eating leeks is just like green onions. Let’s look at some common yet interesting ways:
- Substitute the leeks for the green onions for some typical recipes such as Green Onion Spaghetti.
- Add enough leeks to the nourishing stocks, just like the way you cook crockpot stock.
- Substitute the leeks for the fresh onions in casseroles and soups.
- Use sliced leeks to decorate for soups and dried dishes.
- Add the leeks to quiche, omelets, and frittatas as they can mix with Swiss cheese and eggs.
If you love the mild onion and buttery flavor, leeks can be a versatile and popular vegetable used for different recipes. Also, they substitute for the onions in several dishes like tarts, soups, scrambles, casseroles, and sauteed.