information for leeks.
Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.) J. Gay) is a vegetable belonging, with onion and garlic, to the Alliaceae,
the onion family. Also in this
species are two very different vegetables: The elephant garlic (Allium
ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) grown for its bulbs, and kurrat
which is grown for its leaves in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The leek is also sometimes classified as Allium porrum (L.)
than forming a tight bulb such as the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder
of bundled leaf sheaths which are generally blanched by pushing soil around them
(trenching). They are often sold as small seedlings in flats which are started
early in greenhouses, to be set out
as weather permits. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy and can be
left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed.
are generally considered to have a finer flavor than the common onion. They are
an essential ingredient of cock-a-leekie
of their symbolism in Wales (see below) they have come
to be used extensively in that country's cuisine.
were prized by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who distributed the vegetable
leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, whose citizens
wear it on St. David's Day. According
to legend, Saint David
ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on
their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek
field. This story may have been made up by the English poet Michael Drayton but it
is known that the leek has been a symbol of Wales for a long time; Shakespeare for example refers
to the custom of wearing a leek as an "ancient tradition" in Henry
V. In the play, Henry tells Fluellen
he is wearing a leek "for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman".