Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celery: How to Use it All

Uses for celery
Using all of the celery
Sometimes we throw food away without thinking. Consider celery. Most of us cut off the ends and the leaves and just use the fleshy stalks. And, if you have allowed celery to bolt in your garden, that thick center stalk usually hits the compost pile as well. It happens to be very tender and flavorful, and tastes just like celery! Huh, go figure. There is a lot of food waste going on with celery. It's all edible. So eat it, freeze it, dry it, use it. Just don't waste it!

Celery Root Ends

Often times celery will root and regrow from the root end of a bunch. Cut the root end about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, place it in a shallow dish of water and see what happens. Sometimes a whole new bunch will grow, other times it will just sprout some tender young stalks and leaves. If you are harvesting celery from your garden, don't pull out the plant to harvest. Rather, cut the stalks off just above the soil level and let the celery continue to grow.

Dried celery leaves are an excellent way
to add flavor to soups and salad dressings.

Celery Leaves

Celery leaves pack just as much flavor as the stalks. Use them in soups and salad dressings. If you happen to have a good amount, lay them out to dry, then store them in a mason jar. I use celery leaves in my homemade ranch dressing. I think they amp up the ranchy flavor.

Celery Stalks

I'm sure you are clear on what to do with these. But you may still be throwing away usable food. If you cut off the ends, toss them in a freezer bag and save for making stocks and broths. I have Add-To Bags in my freezer with onion peels, celery ends, carrot peelings and other vegetable and herb trimmings that get used for a variety of flavorful purposes. My add-to bags are a time and money saver. If I want to make a stock, I usually have all the vegetables I need for flavor ready to use in the freezer. Read more about the add-to bags here:  Don't Compost That...Yet!

Celery Seed

Edible, delicious and, of course, great for planting you own crop of celery. One plant will produce hundreds of seeds.

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