The Best Way to Clean Spring Produce Including Asparagus and Leeks

Our expert tips will help ensure you get rid of all the grit.

hands washing chopped leeks water
Photo: Marcus Nilsson

The arrival of spring produce at the market is always a thrill, but asparagus, leeks, radishes, and leafy greens need extra-thorough washing to clean away dirt. To ensure you get your favorites completely clean every time, we turned to assistant food editor Riley Wofford for her best tips.


Those long green spears are easy to clean, but Wofford prefers to soak rather than wash asparagus. "I'll keep them stalk side down in a bowl of water until ready to use, then snap off the ends," she says.


Leeks tend to hold a lot of sandy dirt between their layers, so Wofford suggests chopping them up, floating the sliced leeks in cool water, and agitating (as shown above). Repeat with fresh water until the liquid is totally clear.


If you're lucky enough to buy these foraged delicacies that are part of the allium family, Wofford says you'll see that the root ends can be gritty (they've been under the ground after all!). Simply rub the dirt off as you hold the ramps under running water. Leaves tend to be less gritty but also benefit from a thorough rinse.


If your radishes were sold with greens intact, don't toss the greens—they can be used like other leafy veggies. Just be sure to store the greens and radishes separately. "That will help each last longer," Wofford explains. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the radishes under running water, "like you would for potatoes," she recommends. Wash the greens as you would other leafy vegetables—swish them in water, then spin them dry in your salad spinner.

Leafy Greens

Spring means new seasonal greens like arugula and spinach. To prep these greens, Wofford recommends gently rinsing them in cool water and spinning dry in a salad spinner. Store in a resealable bag with some paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles