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Leeks are one of the oldest cultivated Alliums, related to both the Lily and the Amaryllis families. Leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering other flavors. Their soft texture is essential in making flavorful winter soups with other cool season crops like kale, chard, turnips, potatoes, and carrots. Alliums have been well-researched and found to reduce total cholesterol and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, at the same time helping to lower blood pressure, moderating the risk of heart attack and stroke. Just two servings per week is associated with reduced rates of prostate, ovarian and colon cancers. The combination of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, and iron make leeks particularly helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, slowing absorption of sugars to ensure their proper metabolism in the body. Martha Stewart has 39 leek recipes on her website including Fettuccine, Leek & White Beans which was eaten heartily by our vegetarian son Patrick, this past week. Halve Leeks lengthwise, from top to bottom and wash well under cold running water. Use the tough, dark green portion of the stalk to add flavor to soup stock.–denesse Willey