Dehydrating Leeks For Long-Lasting Goodness

how to dehydrate leeks


Learning how to dehydrate leeks is not only a great skill to have when harvesting your vegetables for the season, but it’s also a smart, simple, and effective way to preserve the flavor of this hearty vegetable.

Leeks can add substance and subtle flavor to a wide range of soups, stews, casseroles, and other home-cooked meals that will take you through the fall and winter.

You may already know that leeks belong to the allium family, which also includes onions, shallots, chives, and scallions. They have a host of beneficial compounds and act as a prebiotic, promoting a healthy digestive system.

I learned that only 5% of the nutrients are lost when dehydrating vegetables, which is another reason this is my favorite type of food preservation.

leeks ready to be dehydrated
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Hi, I’m Ryan

As a minimalist and homesteader, I’m always looking for ways to use what I have while reducing waste. Once I got into dehydrating vegetables, I decided to try something new and dehydrate leeks. Not only was it successful and easy to do, but dehydrating leeks requires minimal equipment and offers big results. Plus, it allows me to use leeks in my meals all year.

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Can You Dehydrate Leeks?

Can You Dehydrate Leeks

Yes, dehydrating leeks is an excellent way to enjoy this vegetable far beyond the typical two-week shelf life. Dehydrating removes the water content and enhances the leeks’ flavors, while the nutrient-rich result gives you more benefits like energy, supporting body structure, and regulating chemical processes.

Packed with vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and manganese, dehydrated leeks are a healthy addition to dozens of meals you’ll make in your kitchen.

dehydrated leeks

What Varieties Of Leeks Can Be Dehydrated?

The dehydrating process remains the same whether you’re using common green leeks such as the American Flag, Lancelot, Musselburgh, King Richard, or the less common purple or yellow leeks. I like growing King Richard because it matures in 75 days, making it an excellent choice for short-season climates, and it’s easy to tend to and keep up with. The King Richard leek is large, long, and has a tasty, mild flavor between garlic and onion.

What Parts Of The Leek Can Be Dehydrated?

All parts of leeks can be dried, and I like to include the bulb, green tops, and delicate inner leaves, preserving all of the plant with little to no waste.

However, some choose to trim off the leeks’ root and the dark green parts of their leaves because they have a stronger flavor and are therefore considered less desirable for dried leeks; that’s up to you.

Do I Need To Peel Leeks To Dehydrate Them?

I opt not to peel the outer layers of the leek, as they contain a significant amount of vitamin C and can be used fresh or dehydrated in sauces. The coarse texture and woody flavor still hold value and add mild but hearty flavor to stews and soups.

Do I Need To Blanch Leeks To Dehydrate Them?

To maintain the quality of dehydrated leeks, I blanch them first. This process prevents any alterations in taste, color, or texture. You immerse them in boiling water for two minutes, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water for another two minutes.

How To Dehydrate Leeks

How To Dehydrate Leeks

It doesn’t take much to dehydrate leeks. It’s a pretty straightforward process requiring just a little preparation, including washing, trimming, and chopping, followed by dehydrating for about six hours.

If you store fresh leeks in the pantry, they may begin to rot within three to five days, while in the refrigerator, they can last up to two weeks. I’ll teach you how to use a dehydrator to preserve your leeks and other fresh food like scallions, peas, and swiss chard for long-term use.

food dehydrator for vegetables

Equipment You’ll Need To Dehydrate Leeks

Equipment Needed To Dehydrate Leeks

You’ll need just a few basics and essentials to dehydrate leeks. First, I highly recommend that you invest in an electric dehydrator. You can find budget-friendly options starting around $30, while more advanced models range upwards of $200. But really, you don’t need anything fancy. You can always check out thrift stores and online marketplaces for more affordable options.

Dehydrating Equipment

  • Dehydrator
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Colander or strainer
  • Baking sheet or tray
  • Storage containers
cutting leeks on a cutting board

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Steps To Dehydrating Leeks

Steps To Dehydrating Leeks

To begin, make sure your leeks are clean and trimmed. Using a sharp knife is important to ensure the slices are thin and not damaged.
Place the leeks onto the dehydrator trays and set the temperature to 125 F for six hours. Once the time is up, check the leeks every 30 minutes until they are fully dehydrated, which could take up to eight hours total.

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Steps to Dehydrating Leeks

  1. Trim Off The RootsGo ahead and trim off your leeks’ roots and remove any damaged or discolored parts. It’s up to you whether you want to remove the tough outer layers or dry the whole leek.
  2. Wash Your Leeks ThoroughlyTo make sure you have a good batch and your leeks don’t spoil, the best practice is to thoroughly wash and brush them to remove all dirt and debris.
  3. Slice The LeeksNext, you want to cut the leeks into thin rounds or strips using a sharp knife. You can adjust the thickness according to your preference, but I aim for uniform slices for even drying.
  4. Layer Your Leeks On TraysWhen you’re placing the slices on the dehydrator tray, leave enough space between each piece to allow for proper air circulation, ensuring even drying and preventing any moisture from being trapped.
  5. Set Your Dehydrator TemperatureGenerally, the temperature to dehydrate is between 125-135 F. The drying time will depend on factors such as humidity levels and the thickness of the leek slices. You’ll want to periodically check the drying progress to avoid over-drying.
  6. Place In DehydratorGenerally, the temperature to dehydrate is between 125-135 F. The drying time will depend on factors such as humidity levels and the thickness of the leek slices. You’ll want to periodically check the drying progress to avoid over-drying.
  7. Remove The Dehydrator TraysAfter removing the dehydrator trays, I allow the leeks to cool completely before storing them in airtight containers or resealable bags, labeling them, and stowing them away in the pantry.

Store leeks in a cool, dry, dark place to make them last longer. Humidity can cause them to spoil faster.

how to dehydrate food

How Do You Tell When Your Leeks Are Done Dehydrating?

You’ll know the leeks are done dehydrating when they appear brittle and break easily when bent. That means they are 100% dry at this point and are ready to be removed from the dehydrator. I always make sure they cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Can You Use A Stove Instead Of A Dehydrator For Leeks?

Yes, you can dry leeks in your oven; however, I’ve found a dehydrator to be a better method. It’s more consistent and efficient, and overall, I think it’s worth the investment for best dehydrating practices. That said, you can still dehydrate leeks in the oven. Just make sure your oven can go low enough to dry them properly. The ideal temperature is around 125 F. If your oven temp goes above 140 F, it will cook the leeks, not dehydrate them.

Since my oven does not go down to 125° F, I crack the oven door to let some heat escape.

How To Store Dehydrated Leeks

How To Store Dehydrated Leeks

Once your leeks are dehydrated, transfer them to airtight or resealable containers. For the best results, use moisture-proof containers, like mason jars or vacuum-sealed bags, and store your containers in a cool, dark, and dry place in your pantry. I highly recommend that you label the container with the date to track its shelf life.

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How Long Will Dehydrated Leeks Last

I’ve found dehydrated leeks have a shelf life of up to one year or even longer if vacuum sealed. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the dehydrated leeks may deteriorate over time, so it is best to use them within a year for optimal flavor and texture.

How To Use Dehydrated Leeks In Your Cooking

Using Dehydrated Leeks In Your Cooking

Dried leeks add a mild, soft flavor to dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries. You can also crush them up and sprinkle them on salads or roasted vegetables. Try grinding the dehydrated leeks to make homemade onion powder. Your possibilities are endless, so go ahead and get creative in the kitchen and try some new recipes!

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Fresh To Dehydrated Leeks Conversion

The general rule for dehydrated leeks is to use about one-third of the amount called for in the recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of fresh leeks, you’ll want to use approximately 1/3 cup of dehydrated leeks instead.

How To Rehydrate Dehydrated Leeks

I add rehydrated leeks to chicken, pasta, and potato salads. You can even add them to your homemade pizzas. First, grab a bowl and combine one part vegetable with two parts water. Then place your dehydrated leeks in the bowl and let them soak for 1-1.5 hours, or put them in a pot to simmer for 10-15 minutes. The leeks will absorb the water and plump up again.

Now that you know how to dehydrate leeks, you can use this knowledge to dehydrate other fruits and vegetables from your garden or homestead, and you don’t have to worry when you harvest a bunch of vegetables that you won’t be able to eat fresh.

leek soup

Your Turn

  • How did your leeks turn out after dehydrating? Were they crunch and brittle?
  • Have you used dehydrated leeks in smoothies?

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