Leeks add such a great onion-like flavor to soups and stews. You will want to have them as an ingredient all year long.
Dehydrating leeks is very easy to do. You can dry them in either a food dehydrator or oven.
Leeks can be bought in a grocery store or grown at home. You might also find wild leeks which grow in Spring time, around April to May. The plants are also known as ramps or wild ramps.
All parts of leeks can be dried, including the bulb, greens and leaves. So preserve all of the plant and don’t waste any of it!
Can Leeks Be Dehydrated?
Yes, leeks can easily be dehydrated. In fact, it is recommended to dry them because their shelf life is so short. If you are growing leeks and have a bumper crop one year, drying the leeks might be your only way of preserving the plants without wasting them.
How to Dry Leeks in a Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is the easiest way to dry leeks. It is also the best way to preserve the color and not have the leeks turn dark and brown.
Because the mesh trays allow for air flow all around the pieces, they will dry more evenly.
A helpful tip is that leeks have a strong onion scent which will smell up the room as you are dehydrating them. If you can move your food dehydrator to another location or outdoors, you can prevent smelling up a room with a lingering onion odor.
If you are drying anything else in the food dehydrator along with the leeks, keep in mind it will have an onion scent to it!
Dry leeks at around 130 degrees for 6 hours. If they are not crispy at 6 hours, continue drying and check every 30 minutes or so. You don’t want the leaves or bulbs to be bendable or soft.
Can I Dehydrate Leeks in an Oven?
Yes, you can dry leeks in an oven. You will want to prepare the pieces for drying in the same method featured below.
Leeks are more delicate for drying, compared to drying fruits in an oven. So you must be very careful to use the absolute lowest setting to dry them (hopefully 150 degrees or less), rather than cook them and burn them.
In fact, you might need to open the oven door a little bit to reduce the temperature in the oven while drying.
Add the pieces to a parchment paper-lined baking tray and put in the oven.
Expect the process to take about 6-10 hours in the oven. However, since all ovens have a different lowest temperature and drying times, this can vary widely.
Helpful Tips for Dehydrating Leeks
- Wash and clean leeks very well before drying. If you are peeling away the leek greens, it is easy to rinse them with water and then pat dry.
- When cutting the bulb, make sure to remove any dirt or debris that can get caught in the folds of the plant. Since the plant grows underground, you will have more dirt to look for than plants that grow above ground and not under the soil.
- You do not want to use the very bottom portion of the bulb that had roots growing out of it. Cut that off before cutting the rest of the bulb to prepare for drying.
- This is an easy herb to cut the leek greens with kitchen scissors. It makes the work go so much more quickly!
- You can also rip the leaves into small pieces.
- Cut all pieces (both the leaves and the bulb) to be no more than 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. This will allow them to dry more quickly.
- All pieces should be somewhat similar in size. Otherwise, bigger pieces will take longer to dry than the smaller pieces will.
- You want your leeks to be dry and crispy when done drying. If you can crumble them in your hand to become a powder, then that is the right consistency.
How Can I Use Dehydrated Leeks?
Dried leeks are great for using in soup recipes. They add an onion-like flavor to the soup. Since there is so much liquid in soups, you do not need to worry about rehydrating the leeks before adding.
They are also perfect sprinkled on top of stews or soups as a topper. Add some with a dollop of sour cream and cheese for a flavorful addition. (Dehydrated okra is also a great topper for soups and adds extra vegetables.)
You might also want to add dried leeks to roasts as you are cooking them. The fat drippings will naturally rehydrate the greens.
Other uses include:
- Salad toppings for crunch
- Snack on the dried bulb or leaf chips in the same way as potato chips
- Add to pizza crust or bread dough (you will want to rehydrate before using so that they don’t absorb the liquid in the recipe)
- Stir into an omelette or eggs
- Use in a pasta salad or potato salad
- Add to a dip or hummus
- Grind into a powder to add to your dishes
How to Store Dehydrated Leeks
Cool leeks completely before storing in a glass container or mason jar. You want to use a glass jar so that the seal is air-tight.
You can grind the leeks into a powder for easier storage.
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You might also like to watch this related video about drying leeks and storing them in jars: