Leeks have been venerated by many civilizations throughout the ages, including ancient Rome and ancient Greece. They saw the vegetable as the embodiment of their mysticism and strength. In contrast, in Wales, they accepted Leeks as their own after having borrowed it and thus, the vegetable turned into one of the symbols of Wales.
Who would have thought that Welsh soldiers would wear leeks on their hats in battle, to distinguish them from their enemies? It's a mystery that they chose this exact vegetable. What explains this act is that leeks were cultivated in October, when the battles took place.
It might be a coincidence but leeks are one of the few vegetables which thrive in Wales in March as well. Many people believe that this is because of the fact that St. David included leeks in his fasting, which included the consumption of bread, water and herbs.
Scientists have proven that leeks are not simply cousins of onions. They have discovered many healthy substances in them, as well as in many other vegetables from the onion genus - Allium, which includes garlic.
Research shows that consumption of vegetables from the Allium genus is incredibly beneficial for the body. Eating them at least twice a week protects us from colon, stomach and prostate cancer, and also lowers cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Leeks are also a great source of iron, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
When using leeks in cooking, their soft and sweet flavor makes them a preferred choice among the representatives of Allium. As well, they can be used in cuisine without any worries that they will suppress the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish.
Leeks possess a unique soft flavor, enabling them to be prepared in numerous and different ways - steamed, sauteed, roasted on their own or in combination with other ingredients.
The taste of leeks is considered to be much more refined than that of onions. That is why they are used in the famous French onion soup, as well as in many other soups and sauces.
Nowadays, leeks are one of the vegetables used in almost all dishes that contain fresh vegetables, since they grow year-round. They are also widely used in fresh salads and food arrangements. Because of its symbolic significance in Wales, the vegetable is present in many local recipes.