Dry Herbal Leek - 500g


Dry Herbal Leek - 500g
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Leeks nutrition facts


Delicate flavored leeks are cylindrical, leafy stalks obtained from the onion-like plant in the Allium family. They are biennial, tall, slender plants with long cylindrical stem composed of overlapping leaves. They are commonly used as vegetables in many parts of Europe, America, and Asia.


Botanically, they belong to the Alliaceae family of bulbous plants, of the genus: Allium. However, unlike their fellow allium members such as onion, shallots, garlic…etc., they do not form bulbs.


Scientific name: Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum.


The plant requires well-drained fertile soil to flourish. In general, it is cultivated as annual crop in many parts of Europe and Asia. Planting can be done by either sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings that take about 100-120 days to harvest.


In general, leeks are planted in deep trenches to deprive sun light exposure which otherwise would turn their stems green (chlorophyll pigmentation) due to photosynthesis. As the plant grow, fill-in the trench by pulling surrounding earth to create a mound around it. This method is applied in order to obtain long, blanched stem.


Health benefits of Leeks 

* Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.


* Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.


* Though leeks contain proportionately less thio-sulfinites than that in garlic, they still possess significant amounts of these anti-oxidants such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide and allyl propyl disulfide. The compounds convert to allicin by enzymatic reaction when the leek-stalk disturbed (crushing, cutting, etc). The total measured anti-oxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g leek is 490 TE (Trolex Equivalents).


* Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.

* Additionally, allicin decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO) and, thereby bring a reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease an overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.


* Leeks are a great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.


* In addition, leeks are one of the good sources of vitamin-A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.


* Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.


Selection and storage

Leeks are at their best during spring season. However, they can be available fresh year around in most of the super markets. While buying, choose fresh organic leeks, as they are rich in flavor and in nutrition. Look for uniform, long, firm, white stalks with healthy root bulb as it signals of fresh farm produce.


Avoid stems with withered, yellow discolor tops.


Once at home, wrap in a paper towel and place inside the refrigerator where they stay fresh for up to a week or so.


Preparation and serving methods


Leeks impart a mellow, sweet onion-flavor to the dishes they added to. They give less pungency than garlic or onions. Although used sparingly outside the European continent, their delicate stems have recently found favor among oriental and Mediterranean recipes.


To prepare; remove its thick top greens. Similarly, trim away lower root end. In a large bowl of water, swish the stalk gently to remove any surface grit, sand, and soil. Drain and mop dry using a paper towel.


Peel their outer layers by hand. You may want to cut them into rings, slice lengthwise or in squares using knife depending up on recipes.


Here are some serving tips:

* Sliced baby leeks and young tender regular stem can be used raw in salads.


* They mix well especially with vegetables, cream, butter, cheese, seafood, and eggs.


* Delicate stems are one of the most sought after particularly in stews and soups. Potato-leek soup is a favorite Northern -European winter preparation, especially by British, and French (vichyssoise).


* Julienned blanch (white) leeks are used in the preparation of quiche with added leafy rocket (arugula) and herbs like basil.


* They can also be used in frittata, pizza, and pasta, and like spring onions in noodles, fried-rice, pulao,...etc., in mouth-watering stir-fries.

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