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Friday, 13 November 2020

Leeks : A Short History and Some Recipe Ideas


Following on from these posts here and here about leeks, this one gives more details about the history of leeks, it's interesting!

Leeks A Short History:
Leeks have been cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and were probably part of the diet of those who built the pyramids. Hippocrates the ancient Greek physician and ‘father of medicine’ prescribed the leek as a cure for nosebleeds.

The Romans considered the leek a superior vegetable and Emperor Nero got through so many he gained the nickname Porophagus (leek eater); he is reported to have thought that eating leeks would improve his singing voice!

Phoenician traders are said to have introduced the leek to Wales when they were trading for tin in the British Isles – an act that would unexpectedly elevate this humble veg to national status thousands of years later.

Legend has it that in 640AD, the Briton King Cadwallader and his men were engaged in battle with invading Saxons. To distinguish themselves from the enemy, the Welsh wore leeks in their hats – and subsequently gained a great victory over their opponents.

The leek is also associated with the Welsh Saint David. During the Middle Ages when Saint David was alive the leek was seen as a healthy and virtuous plant. Extraordinary qualities were claimed for it. It was the original health food, high in fibre, good for purging the blood, keeping colds at bay and healing wounds.

During this period the leek also acquired mystic virtues. It was claimed that girls who slept with a leek under their pillow on St David’s Day would see their future husband in their dreams.

A 16th Century reference to the leek as a Welsh emblem is found in the Account Book of Princess Mary Tudor. Earlier still, in the fourteenth century it is known that the feared Welsh archers adopted the green and white colours of the leek for their uniforms, probably at the battle of Crecy.

The leek is worn in the caps of today’s Welsh soldiers every year on St David’s Day. On the same day, in the prestigious Welsh Guards Regiment, a large raw leek has to be eaten by the youngest recruits to the cheers of comrades. The green and white plume worn in the ‘Bearskin’ hats of the Guards also identifies them as belonging to a Welsh Regiment. According to tradition, the 600 soldiers of The Royal Welsh regiment are worked with ‘gunfire’ – tea laced with rum – served by senior ranks and officers on St David’s Day.

The humble leek is also mentioned in the Bible. The book of Numbers records how after leaving Egypt, the children of Israel missed a range of foods including leeks.

The leek in Hebrew is called Karti, which is a pun on another Hebrew word yikartu meaning ‘to be cut off’. Thus the Jews eat leeks at Rosh Hashanah to symbolise a wish for their enemies ‘to be cut off’.

Details about leeks history from here

Related Posts
Leeks : A Versatile Member Of The Allium Family : Some Recipes : See Here
Leeks (Wild Ramps) : Health and Nutrition Benefits : See Here

Some recipes you may like to try

Cauliflower, Leek and Cheese Gratin
more details here

Winter Green Beef Casserole, it's low carb
more details here

Creamy Broccoli and Leek Soup : A Low Carb Winter Winner
more details here

A variety of articles and recipe ideas are within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. Many thanks for reading.

All the best Jan

27 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Leeks are a food I should make better use of - thanks for the reminder.

Pam said...

Love broccoli soup. I made an amazing potato soup last week. I have the pumpkin that I need to cut to make a creamy pumpkin soup. Maybe tomorrow.

William Kendall said...

My mother liked leek, but I never had it.

Sally said...

Oh, the soup especially looks good! I have never cooked with leeks; looks like I should though. Thanks!

xoxo

Tom said...

...I've never had them.

Hootin' Anni said...

I've had the broccoli & leek soup & liked it. I really enjoyed the trivia...reads to be very much in the Welsh history.

DVArtist said...

Wonderful history lesson and great recipes.

Joyful said...

I don't think I ever heard of a leek until well into adulthood. I've only cooked them once in soup and once at a restaurant (also as soup). They are quite tasty.

Megy Maia said...

Parece maravilhoso!
Um abracinho recheado de saúde!💛🌻💛
Megy Maia🌈

Rose said...

I bet I would love the ones with the cauliflower and broccoli....

Christine said...

Delicious recipes!

My name is Erika. said...

Fascinating reading about leeks. I have some in the frig and plan to make some soup. I didn't know they were such a part of history!

Conniecrafter said...

very interesting, I love how you all keep the traditions of old to this day, I did not realize they were mentioned in the bible.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Margaret D said...

Interesting read about leeks. Do like the. But too many of them too often doesn't like me.

Valerie-Jael said...

I love leeks! Valerie

Sue (this n that) said...

So interesting to read about the history of leeks and also the nutritional benefits Jan. Hubby has some growing and your recipes look good too, in both sections... thank you! 💐

mamasmercantile said...

Such interesting facts, it is so nice to learn something new. I love the look of the delicious recipes.

Phil Slade said...

Leek fans here. Not sure I could eat a whole raw leek but we do enjoy leeks in a few ways. Mostly in a cheesy sauce, in a leek and potato soup or as a base and ingredient for a chicken pie. So healthy too.

linda said...

Very interesting post and thank you for all the great recipes, I love leeks and wll be trying them one by one.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Interesting history of leeks, one of my favourite vegetables

Martha said...

Lovely recipes. I think I'd especially enjoy the creamy broccoli and leek soup!

Rain said...

Oh wow...cauliflower and leek gratin! That sounds lovely!

Laura. M said...

Me encantza el puerro, en loa purés y en tortilla. Gracias.
Buen fin de semana. Cuídate.
Un abrazo.

carol l mckenna said...

Great historical info and delish recipes for leeks ^_^

Live each moment with love,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

sandy said...

oh that soup looks good. I love a good creamy broccoli soup.

Jeanie said...

Leeks are wonderful. All of these look like terrific comfort food!

Snowbird said...

I love leeks, mine are growing away so will have lots of fresh ones throughout winter. They do seem to go with everything don't they?xxx