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Are Negi the same as Leeks?

Are Negi the same as Leeks?

Do you know what kind of seeds these are? 

These little black seeds might look similar to onion or leek, but they contain the genetic ingredients for the succulent, hollow leaves and long white stalks of Long Negi.

While related, Negi is a different species from its Allium cousins – Allium fistulosum is characterized by its non-bulbing nature and hollow green tops. Leeks, for example, are a different species in the same genus:  Allium ampeloprasum. 

The tops are the visual key to differentiate Negi from Leeks: Negi has tender, hollow tops, while Leeks have flat, rigid tops. The tops of Negi can be eaten raw or cooked, while Leek tops typically are cooked at length so they become tender. Of course if you taste the white layers of the shank you will also be able to tell the difference. 

Here are some more Allium species you might know: 

  • Allium ampeloprasum: リーキ・Leeks
  • Allium cepa: 玉ねぎ・Onions, Shallots (sometimes used / sold as scallions)
  • Allium × proliferum: わけぎ・Wakegi (Tree Onions, Walking Onions, Egyptian Onions) -- This is a hybrid between A. cepa and A. fistulosum 
  • Allium sativum: ニンニク・Garlic
  • Allium schoenoprasum: チャイブ・Chives
  • Allium schoenoprasum var. Foliosum: あさつき・Asatsuki, a Japanese variety of Chives
  • Allium tuberosum: ニラ・Nira, or Chinese Chives

Leeks

The above are Allium ampeloprasum: リーキ・Leeks. Notice their dark green, flat tops. 

Allium cepa: 玉ねぎ・Bulb Onions. 

Long Negi

This is Allium fistulosum: 長ネギ・Long Negi (sometimes used for scallions). 

Try growing and tasting them side by side and let us know what you think! Is there anything we missed? Do you have any other questions? Leave us a comment and let us know. 

 

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