(and how to get the most out of your celery)
What can you make with celery?
The celery family is jam-packed full of flavour no matter which way you slice it, and there are loads of ways to use it. Celeriac is a variety grown for its bulbous root, which is brilliant in soups and stews, but also makes the most incredibly light and flavoursome mash.
Traditional celery ribs (the name of one stick) are often seen sliced and used in salads, and used as crudités to have with dips. Of course, there’s the old-time favourite of ‘ants on a log’ (a celery rib filled with peanut butter and studded with sultanas), and a more sophisticated take on that with cream cheese as the filling and salt & pepper as the critters on top.
Celery ribs also stand up to cooking quite well: sliced into moons in a soup or stew they add sweetness, flavour and texture; and sliced on the diagonal, they become an excellent vegetable base for stirfries such as beef & black bean, and chicken & Chinese mushrooms.
As for the leaves, they’ve got just as much flavour in them as the stalk, so they’re perfect to chuck into the stockpot, or a green smoothie, and make for an excellent salad filler too. In fact, Leaf Celery is grown specifically for its prolific leaf output, and doesn’t waste its growing energy on long stalks.
With all this to try, and with the fact that celery can last up to a month in the fridge if stored correctly (washed, trimmed & either stored upright in a glass of water like a bunch of flowers, or wrapped in slightly damp teatowel inside an airtight container), there’s no real reason to avoid buying a whole bunch of celery package-free, rather than succumbing to the marketing ploy that is packaged “1/2 celery stalk” or even worse “cut celery sticks”.
But what’s this celery salt you talk of?
Well, because celery is so flavoursome, it’s brilliant at adding depth to all sorts of dishes, but you don’t always want to deal with the actual vegetable itself. Enter: celery salt.
Flavoured salts are great for adding complex and rich flavours to dishes with very little effort. Recently, we shared our Lemon Pepper Seasoning, which also makes use of ‘waste’ ingredients to create a tasty flavour enhancer with no nasty numbers or synthetic preservatives. Celery salt is exactly what it says on the box – celery and salt – and is a really nifty way of preserving celery so you can quickly add its flavour to any dish you like.
- Celery ribs, offcuts or leaves. Or seeds if you’re growing your own
- Wash celery bits well. Pat dry.
- Chop ribs/offcuts finely if using.
- Dehydrate celery. Either use a dehydrator at ~55-60C, or whack on a baking tray and cook in the oven at 200C for 20 minutes. It’s done when celery is bone dry and crispy
- Allow to cool briefly.
- Blitz 1 packed cup of dried celery with 1/4 cup of salt in spice/coffee grinder.
Store it in an airtight container, and chuck in one of those little silicon desiccant sachets if you’ve got it to stop the powder getting damp and going clumpy.
Sprinkle your celery salt on salads, on bread & butter, in stirfries, in soups, on roasted potatoes and parsnips, and of course, if you’re a Bloody Mary kinda person, use it to dust the rim of your glass before filling.
– * Pure salt is salt that has no additives. Lake, sea, kosher, ‘pickling’, rock: they’re all pure. When measuring by volume rather than weight, make sure to use granulated salt though, otherwise the ratios will be off.
Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 6: Produce no waste