How To Properly Store Fresh Leeks For Later

Leeks are an extremely popular vegetable in the springtime, and you'll definitely want to stock this produce in your kitchen all season long. Their sweet yet mild garlicky flavor lends them to all kinds of appetizers, side dishes, and main courses, ranging from a classic potato leek soup to herby cheddar leek fritters. However, the flavorful benefits of this ingredient only get the opportunity to shine if your leeks remain fresh up until they are ready to use.

When you bring home fresh leeks, your first instinct may be to wash them, as they are known for harboring dirt and grit in between their many layers. But doing so can speed up the rate at which they decline in quality, so it is best to keep them dry until you are ready to cook with them. Leeks can be stored at room temperature for a few days, after which point you should place them in a plastic bag in the fridge. There, they will last for anywhere from five days to two weeks.

How to tell if leeks have gone bad

Even with proper storage, your leeks will eventually expire. As such, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of spoilage to prevent yourself from accidentally consuming harmful pathogens that could make you sick. Carefully examine any older leeks for a slimy texture, unpleasant smell, or visible mold growth. If any of these are present, you can assume that the leeks have gone bad and should be tossed. 

If you need your leeks to last longer than they do in the fridge, you can always freeze them — though you will sacrifice their texture to some degree in the process, resulting in a softer vegetable upon thaw. Just slice the leeks as desired, place in an airtight container, and transfer to the freezer. There, fresh leeks will last for two months. Optionally, you can take an additional step of blanching the leeks prior to freezing to extend their frozen lifespan to a full year. Then, there's no need to thaw the leeks prior to cooking. You can simply remove a portion from the freezer and use them immediately in your favorite dish. If you need some inspiration, here are some of our favorite leek recipes that are anything but bleak.