By Lygeia Grace
Updated September 25, 2007
Credit: Brian Henn

How to choose: Leeks should be straight and firm, with white bottoms and bright green leaves. Avoid those with very dark green tops or rounded (rather than flat) bottoms, which can be signs that the vegetable is overgrown, old, or both. Smaller leeks are the most tender.

How to store: Before storing, cut off and discard the dark green tops, but keep the roots intact. Stow tightly wrapped in a plastic bag (to contain their odor) in the refrigerator.

Shelf life: 5 days.

Best uses: Leeks tend to be sandy, so wash them well just before cooking. They are tasty blanched (briefly boiled), roasted, or sautéed. Or try braising: Halve them lengthwise and put them in a pot with enough chicken broth to reach halfway up their sides. Dot with butter and simmer, covered, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.