The Home of Leeks

The Leek Appreciation Society

We are on a mission to get the nation cooking more with leeks! Leeks are so versatile and have such a lovely mild and sweet flavour that complements so many dishes – we think they deserve to be appreciated more.

If you agree then do send us your favourite recipes using leeks and your top tips for cooking with leeks and we will share some of the best on this page and on @DiscoverLeeks. Follows us on Twitter for the latest news about leeks, recipes and top tips.

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To whet your appetite here are some fun facts about leeks:

  • Leeks have been cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptians – when they were so much appreciated they were used as payment for services supplied!
  • The word leek comes from an old Germanic word lauka.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans liked leeks and believed they helped with throat complaints. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, asked if partridges got their clear voices by eating a lot of leeks.
  • The climate of the UK is perfect for leeks and it was first discovered how they thrive here when the Romans occupied the country from AD 43-410.
  • During the Middle Ages in Wales the leek became linked to Saint David. The leek grew in popularity with people trusting they helped with colds, cleansing the blood and helping wounds to heal. Leeks are high in vitamin K which helps blood clot so can aid in the healing of wounds and they have vitamin C which helps keeps the cells healthy. (See the health benefits of leeks here)
  • So hallowed was the leek during this time it was almost considered magical. Young girls would sleep with a leek under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future husband.
  • Legend has it that King Cadwaladr made his soldiers wear leeks in their helmets to identify themselves against the Saxons during a battle in a leek field. When the Welsh Guards regiment was formed in 1915 the cap badge was a leek and remains so to this day.
  • And on St David’s Day the regiment is always presented with a box of leeks – this first happened in the Somme and the tradition has continued.
  • Designer of the Queen’s Coronation gown Norman Hartnell used the emblems of Britain on the dress – the leek was embroidered in white and pale green silk with diamante. When asked if he could not use the prettier daffodil he flatly refused!
  • The Welsh word for leeks is ‘Cennin’ while the Welsh for daffodils is ‘Cenhinen Bedr’ which means St Peter’s leeks.
  • Search your purse or pocket and you may well find a pound coin with a leek on it. More than 300 million have gone into circulation since the 1980s and in 2017, a new 12-sided one pound coin will be introduced and will feature all four emblems – the Welsh leek, the English rose, the Scottish Thistle and the Irish shamrock.