botanical name: Allium porrum
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Leek, a biennial herbaceous plant, is a real source of comfort for our body.
Origins and history
Known since ancient times, by the Romans, the Egyptians and the Greeks, it 's a resource of the Mediterranean area, its place of origin. Sources attest it, more precisely, in the Near East region. Some scholars have suggested a Celtic origin, but without certainty.
Sure, however, its use in 2000 BC by Egyptians. It was thanks to them, and their businesses, that the vegetable began to be used in the greek-Roman, so that way to us. It belongs to the large family of Liliaceae, which includes, among others, also the garlic and onion. L 'Allium porrum, scientific name that identifies it, presents several varieties, which differ in length, strength, intensity of taste and cultivation.
The most common varieties, attested in Italy, are four: the Fat Short d 'summer, very big of Rouen, the Long giant winter' d 'Italy, the Monstrous Carentan and the famous Cervere. Its cultivation has grown especially in the regions of central Italy and in Piemonte, especially in Chivasso.
Nutritional properties and benefits
It's certainly a rich vegetable properties starting from nutritional value. Being low in calories it's indicated in low-calorie diets, providing a significant amount of vitamins and water. Albeit in small amounts, it's a source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, silicon, sodium and essence of sulfo-nitrogenous.
Since ancient times, its medicinal properties are known, for the efficacy against abscesses and stings of bees and mosquitoes. As well as its diuretic, to treat the 'arthritis, kidney disease, constipation and prevent arteriosclerosis. So, it's a plant with many features, in addition to an aromatic taste and the many organoleptic properties. Even its cooking water, rich in alkaline salts, tantamount to spa treatments.
The use of leek in cooking
Precisely for the above characteristics, the vegetable is used in the cuisine of many cultures, especially the 'Italy, and Greece have many recipes, in which the protagonist appears. Used in all its variants, it's well adapted to the growing demands of a vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
In the latter case, the delicious leek cream, made with vegetable broth, flour, extra virgin olive d 'olives and croutons, just replace the Parmesan with the yeast flakes, and you're done. Excellent tasted boiled with a little oil, it can also be used for replacing the fried onion or garlic. The flavor, definitely sweeter, is ideal for the most delicate palates. To learn the most of its wide use have to have fun with the soups, queens of winter, where it mixed with spelled and barley, to enrich your food taste.
There are many literary quotations and famous people, who provide us with thoughts and ideas on the leek, in past societies. The great Roman historian Pliny mentions the vegetable, boasting its numerous benefits. It also informs about the Emperor Nero's passion, through anecdotes and stories. According to the ancient Romans the plant had aphrodisiac effects. Being a people accustomed to worldly pleasures, it is easy to deduce a wide use.
Even in the Middle Ages its fame has not stopped, but expanded. The first major medical school, he saw in those years its development in the city of Salerno, insisted all herbal properties, recommending its use for medical problems. A news rather curious recognizes in the sixteenth century, a vision of Giordano Bruno, who idealized the leek a phallic symbol, even believing it can transform into the man's seed.
We could quote still many other cases, but to end this excursus will conclude with a quote from beyond the Alps, attributed to the doctor Jacques du Four de la Crespèliere, supporter, in several of his writings, the plant quality.
"Thorough the topic will be hard to look at the Allium porrum with the same eyes as before, regardless of the size, which is contained in such simplicity."