When the cold winter wind blows, it’s more important than ever that we look after ourselves. We wrap up warm, protect ourselves with layers of protective clothing and make sure we get plenty of vitamins and minerals — all the things our bodies need to stay in tip-top condition.
By packing our meals with carefully chosen seasonal vegetables, we can make a big difference to how we feel when the elements are less than friendly and one of these superstars is the leek. Remarkably versatile, they’re a delicious part of any winter-warmer — and a great source of vitamins A, K and B6 as well as manganese, so they’re staunch support for your immune system, bones and vision.
Right now is the best time to enjoy them, which is why we’ve bestowed the leek with our season special title this month. We thought we’d give you the low-down on why they’re one of the most marvellous vegetables to enjoy at this time of year.
The history of the leek is not one to be scoffed at. They can be traced back as far as Cleopatra: they have been cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, meaning that they most likely fuelled the building of the pyramids. Here in Europe they’ve been top of the menu for quite a while, too. The Romans considered the leek a superior vegetable and Emperor Nero ate so many he got the nickname Porophagus, which means leek eater.
In Great Britain, leeks are a well-loved vegetable: they’re even the emblem of Wales. Our love of them is not surprising, as they’re a fantastic source of dietary fibre, they’re also a top source of vitamin C, and their green tops contain beta carotene which our bodies make into vitamin A.
When it comes to preparing leeks, it’s best to select those with clean, crisp, white bottoms and fresh-looking tops. Small to medium-size leeks are the most tender and have a mild, delicate flavour. There are so many great way to enjoy them, too. From the traditional leek and potato soup which is always a favourite on a cold winter day, to an adventurous bowl of leek and chicken noodles, they’re a versatile treat for any meal.
At Eurest, we’ll be cooking up leeks all across the country, bringing you the very best in seasonal produce. We always make sure to take advantage of regional and local flavours at their peak, as we know it’s the very best way to give you delicious and healthy food.