Alliums - Leeks and Onions
The last post detailed our recent garlic harvest. Today I harvested the first batch of leeks and purple onions. Still more in the garden that will be ready over the next couple of weeks.
It doesn't seem like many people grow leeks. Not as popular as garlic and onions, they are nonetheless an important part of my spring and fall garden. I clean them well, slice thinly, freeze on rimmed cookie sheets and pack into zipper freezer bags to store in the freezer until needed. Yes, a bit of work initially but well worth it. Sauteed leeks are good in so many dishes. And potato/leek soup... delicious!
The next post will show how to thoroughly clean leeks. It is easy, but there are a couple of key steps necessary to insure there is no dirt/grit remaining in the crevices.
|Leeks - just pulled from the garden|
Like garlic, onions require a curing time prior to storage. The fleshy leaves need to dry out so the neck doesn't grow mold during storage. Nobody wants to cut into an onion that is moldy in the center. If properly cured and stored onions will stay good for several months.
|First batch of purple onions... more to come!|
The best onion storage facility is a cool basement. But who is lucky enough to have a cool basement in Texas? Not me, so I have to improvise as best as possible. I have converted one of the bedrooms in our house into a large pantry/storage room. The floor is ceramic tile so it stays (somewhat) cool. I put large pieces of cardboard down and spread the onions out, spacing a bit so they are not crowded. Even though we set our air conditioner to the mid-70's the onions stay good for several months. The optimum temperature for storage is the 50 to 60-degree range, but of course that is not possible in Texas in the summer. The mid 70's doesn't seem to cause much of a problem though.