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why do recipes always say to only use the white part of a leek? Is the green part poisonous?

No portion of the leek is poisonous. On the other hand, make sure you wash leeks very well due to the fact they are grown in sandy soil. Although many recipes call for only the “white parts” of leeks, the light green portion is just as edible. The dark green leaves tend to be fibrous and tough, but may be eaten if  they are cooked for several minutes prior to consumption. 
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