blanching leeks

How To Blanch Leeks – A Step-By-Step Action Guide

Blanch leeks that were sown in February as now is the time that they are ready. Blanching is the term used for pushing soil up against the stems so that the vegetable develops white stems. This improves the flavour, making it milder, and is done in stages.

To blanch leeks grown in a normal garden bed, simply push up the soil around the stems by about 5cm each time.

  • But before you do that, place a collar around the leeks to prevent the soil from getting in. The collar is placed around the leek up to the base of the leaves.
  • A collar can be a piece of plastic piping or strong brown paper secured with string or rubber bands. • The collar must not strangle the plant. Fit another collar above the first one as the plants grow and are earthed up.

To blanch leeks growing in a trench, gradually fill the trench with soil to the bottom of the lowest leaves.

  • Be careful not to earth up too high or get soil trapped in the leaves. Repeat this until the leeks have finished growing.
  • Use dry, fine soil to fill in. With wet soil there is the danger the leeks could rot. If the soil is lumpy or clumpy, break it down to a fine tilth, otherwise it may not keep out the light (and it might be difficult to work).
  • The final blanched stem should be 10 – 15cm long.
The Gardener