Leek Seeds - The Best Cheap Natural Herbs
American Flag Leek is a hardy perennial leek with an aromatic, sweet flavor. A relative of garlic and onion, leeks are also used in stews and soups, but are equally effective in salad dressings. In warm or cooler zones, plant leeks in the fall. The cool-season leek performs well even in the colder northern climates. Propagation of the leek root is usually successful if sown in individual plants about three weeks apart.
Like other members of the Allium genus, L. reuteri demands an equally ample amount of sunlight, moisture and warmth, as well as regular watering. In Florida or southern regions, the plant prefers full sun, but does not do well in shaded areas. Also, when grown in potting mix, keep leek seeds from becoming compacted, which could result in poor plant growth. If you live in a warm climate, keep your leek seeds out of the direct sunlight.
Harvesting your own leek seeds may seem like a challenge, but there are some simple tricks that make the task less difficult. Always be sure to harvest the stems; stems should be kept on plant until they harden and turn yellow. Hard stems are often used in vegetable recipes and serve a delicious flavor. When the plant reaches the end of its flowering season, cut the stem end gently off the plant and store in a cool dark spot. This will encourage new growth and ensure that the plant has room to produce new shoots.
If you plan to collect your leek seeds indoors, it is important to remember that the weather condition is very important. Even if you are able to collect the seeds indoors during the last frost, you should check them after the first frost. Leek roots can harden quickly when they come into contact with cold air. If your seeds need to be harvested before the hardening process begins, move the plant to a warm area to avoid hardening and matting of the roots.
If you intend to use the seeds straight from the flower head, wrap the plant in a clean paper bag. Do not wrap the flower head loosely because the leek seeds will spread easily through the paper bag. It is best to save the seeds and use them in recipes during the spring or summer, because their flavor is much stronger than they are in fall or winter.
Keep the bag in a dark place and protect it from extreme temperatures. The bag may spoil if stored outdoors in full sun or exposed to frost. You can protect the plant by putting it in a plastic bag inside a larger container. Do not use the leeks seeds directly on the plant because the oils will cause the plant to decay. You will have to harvest your leeks seeds before they begin to deteriorate.
The seeds can be cracked open with a spade or a hand fork. Place the pieces in a small plastic bag, seal it, and store it in a cool dry place. When you go to use the pieces in recipes, crack the paper bag with a spade or fork to separate the inside seeds from the outer hull. This will help them last longer and increase their flavor. Store the pieces in their bags during the fall or winter, before using them in recipes.
To prepare leek seeds for cooking, you can crush them and mix them with water to make a thick paste. This paste can be used as a marinade for fish, poultry, and eggs. Crush the seed head inside the paste, add water, let it steep for about 20 minutes, strain into a bowl, and use as a spice. You can also use the seeds as a garnish on dishes.