Leek Facts

Leek Facts
Leek is a type of vegetable that belongs to the lily family. It originates from eastern Mediterranean, but it can be found around the world today. Leek grows on fertile, well-drained soil. It requires at least 4 moths of cold weather for the proper growth and development. Cultivation of leek started 3.000 years ago. Besides pleasant taste, leek contains numerous phytonutrients that act beneficially on the humans health.
Interesting Leek Facts:
Leek develop erect, cylindrical pseudostem (false stem that consists of bundle of leaves) that can reach 4.9 feet in height.
Fleshy pseudostem of leek consists of elongated bulb and numerous long, broad leaves that tightly enclose each other. Lower portion of pseudostem needs to be covered with soil during the growth of the plant to prevent synthesis of green pigments and keep it white and tender. White part of pseudostem is known as "shank".
Leek produces strap-shaped leaves that change their color from white to dark green (from the base to the tip of the plant).
Leek produces spherical umbel (numerous small flowers that grow from the same point) on top of the flowering stem. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs and they are able to perform self-pollination in the case that insects (natural pollinators) are not available.
Fruit of leek is globose or ovoid capsule filled with up to 6 seed.
Leek propagates via seed and tillers. Plant is ready for the harvest usually 5 to 6 months after planting.
Leek has sweet, mild, onion-like taste. It is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins of the B-group, vitamins A, C and K and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Leek can be consumed fresh in the form of salads or as ingredient of soups, casseroles, sauces, pizzas, pasta and dishes made of cheese, eggs, butter and meat.
Ancient Egyptians cultivated and consumed leek.
Leek was used in treatment of nosebleed in the ancient Greece.
Great Roman emperor Nero was also known as "Porophagus" or "leek eater". He regularly consumed this vegetable due to belief that leek improves singing capacities.
According to the legend, troops of British king Cadwallader used leek (tucked in the helmets) to quickly identify friends from the enemies on the battle field. This unusual tactic saved many lives and resulted in victory of British army over the Saxons.
Leek was very popular during the Middle Ages in Europe. Girls have slept with leek under their pillows on the St. David's Day to see their future husbands in dreams.
Compounds isolated from leek have anti-bacterial (kill bacteria), anti-viral (kill viruses) and anti-fungal (kill fungi) properties. They also decrease blood cholesterol level, prevent formation of blood cloths and development of cardiovascular disorders and strokes.
Leek is biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.

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