Harvesting and Preserving Garden Leeks

Oct 13, 2019 | Food

That row of leeks we planted in June is now chock full of large plants that are ready to harvest. And I’m happy to cut many of them in mid-October, while leaving some to pick on a day-by-day basis for cooking dinner. Here is what I do with leeks in October.

I cut every other leek in my garden today. This left several that I will enjoy harvesting through the next two or three months as I cook dinner. It also allows the remaining leeks to grow larger as they have more space.

My leeks were planted in June and now I can harvest over half of them. I cut every other leek, and took them to my “outdoor kitchen” to cook them before freezing.

In the garden I cut the leeks and peel off the outside leaves, exposing the white and green stems. Here was today’s harvest, along with some random eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.

Since the leeks would smell up my entire house if I cooked them indoors, I prefer to braise them in olive oil outside, under my grape arbor.

I am blessed to have a table under my grape arbor where an electric frying pan, chopping board and other supplies are staged. Here my leeks can be sauted without smelling up my house.

I chop the leeks and fry them in some olive oil until they are slightly browned and wilted.

The chopped leeks are in the basket on the left, and those that are cooking are in the pan on the right. Once the leeks are braised well, I put them in a bowl (top center) and later will place them in plastic bags that go into the freezer. Once frozen I can break off a hunk of leeks to toss into any recipe I’m cooking over the winter.

Tonight there are three bags of cooked leeks in my freezer. The scraps from the green ends were put into a vegetable stock that I’ll use to make a leek/potato soup this fall. The braised leeks that I cooked under the arbor have been put in bags, in a shallow layer, so that once frozen I can easily break off a chunk to use in whatever recipe I’m cooking at the moment. A creative cook is happy when the freezer is filled with garden produce, ready to toss into any recipe.

In the garden are the leeks I haven’t yet harvested. I will pull these one by one as I cook through December.


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