For the love of celery

Every time I see one of those lists with the stuff ranked about what you really should buy organic, celery is always number one. I really wonder why? I asked at my Master Gardening class, and no one knew the answer.

I love celery, so I’ve been trying to grow it for a while now. It’s a little hard, but I’m getting better every year.

The seeds take forever to germinate. I mean, crazy longer than you’d ever imagine. It’s really easy to just give up on them, but I’ve found a few things that help.

Celery seedlings Freeze the seed, then put it in a moist towel in a zipped plastic bag for about a month. When the seeds start to swell, put it in a seed starter soil mixture. Keep that mixture so wet that you feel like you are surely drowning them. Wait for about a week and they’ll start to sprout. Water them until they are water-logged and don’t forget a single day until they are about a month old. Then they transfer really easily.

Celery Keep them really wet during the entire growing season. We try to pick the wettest of our beds, and keep a drip line on them as well.

I’m always amazed at how cold hardy they are. I can put them out when it’s still getting slightly below freezing in the spring, and leave them out for a couple of weeks in the fall after it’s started going below freezing each night.

Drying celery leaves I don’t get huge stalks, but what I get is intensely flavored and yummy, and lots of leaves. We dry the leaves, some of the stalks, and I make puree out of the stalks and can it. I also freeze some — I don’t bother to blanch it, just chop and freeze, and throw it into stuff all winter long. It’s lovely.

I read about someone using celery plugs to start, and the Jollies have them. I wonder if I should get those, or continue to work on improving my own seedling starts?

Making celery puree Here’s what I do for cream of celery soup. I find many recipes call for it and I can’t stand all the crap that’s in store-bought versions, plus I don’t want the BPA that’s in those cans, either. So I fill up my crockpot with celery, some carrots and onions, but mostly celery. Cook it on low until I can blend it with a stick blender, usually overnight. I pressure-can that in half-pints for 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.

IMGP3397 To make the soup, take a half pint of puree and mix with four egg yolks and a half a cup of heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with some fresh parsley. It’s really good! Frank could hardly believe he liked it.

Celery is NOT food The pigs have announced loud and clear, however, that they do not consider celery to be actual food. Usually, when I pour the first bucket of whatever they are getting, they all chow down immediately. I laughed out loud at them the other day, because they just stood there and stared at me in disgust. That’s not food. Please bring us the yogurt, thank you. Silly pigs.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 10, 2010 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips on celery growing. My crop was a complete failure except for 1 lonely plant that is so spindly I feel mean thinking about eating it. I’ll try your starting tips in the spring.
    Great pig picture. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Renee
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Just based on how much water celery takes up, if it’s not organic you stand a chance of ingesting more chemicals than normal.

    That’s my theory.

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