Baleful Bounty, Chicken, Gardening @ Turtle Creek, Locally Grown, Salads, Sandwiches
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Garden Project 2015 – Celer-y… Celer-Ra!

We go through a lot of celery. That’s nearly 2 bunches a week. It goes in salads, soups, stews… the occasional ants on a log…and sometimes, just to munch. I mean, it’s like negative calories. The amount of jaw muscle work and digestive hoo haas going on far over-reach the measly 7 calories per stalk.

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But that leaves me with a bounty of these little celery stalk butts. Yes, I know it’s still celery… but the color is all wrong and to be completely honest, it doesn’t really taste like much of anything.


You remember back in grade school when you stuck toothpicks in potatoes and suspended them over water to watch them grow leggy, useless plants? Or the carrot tops left rotting in jelly jar lids? I found out you can do pretty much the same thing with celery butts…. only instead of a pile of non-producing potato stems – you can get actual – edible – celery! And it only takes about 4 weeks.

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To do this, you have to understand a couple of basics:

1). American celery is not the same thing as Celeriac (Celery Root). For the most part Conquistador or Tall Utah are grown in the States as Americans prefer the taller, crisp green stalks. These varieties do produce a small-ish root tuber, but it won’t be terribly palatable. Celery Root (or turnip celery) is grown more wide-spread in Europe and the UK as they do better in cooler, wetter climates…. meaning, don’t expect to get a beautiful root off your plant.

2). Celery is a cool season Biannual plant. Since what we are doing is continuing the first growing season, it will not bolt and produce seeds.

3). Celery likes wet, wet, boggy surroundings. You’ll need to keep it well watered and well fed in order to produce something more than weedy stalks.

So, to plant your butt –

Clean down all but the inner-most immature stalks (the ones about 4″ in length)

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Site out a good, shady spot in your garden. (I plant mine amongst the strawberry plants and Brussels Sprouts in order to provide good cover and some dappled light.)  Prepare the garden patch with a good quality potting soil, composted cow manure, and peat moss – in equal proportions.

Dig a hole 1/2 the depth of the planting stalk and pack the soil around the root stump.

Water….Water…Water

Within a week, the existing stalks will begin to darken and grow. At about 3 weeks you can start harvesting  the more mature stalks for use in salads. (Harvesting will promote new growth.)

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As the stalks reach 8 to 10″, you will need to collar the stalks. This will keep critters from snacking on them as well as forcing the stalks to grow upright and to form sturdy, tighter clusters. Replace the collars as the stalks grow 8 to 10″ above the first collar.

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In about 45 days your celery is ready to harvest. Go ahead and uproot the plant completely. In most areas of the States, celery will not winter over very well as they are highly susceptible to frost.

Chicken Salad with Celery

Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 minute
Total time 16 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Precooked or Roasted Chicken (Use a leftover rotisserie chicken... or left over Wine Country Chicken)
  • 1/2 cup Celery Stalk (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Yellow Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise (Something less sweet - Like Dukes (or make our recipe))
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celery Seed
  • 1 tablespoon Celery Leaves (Minced)

Tools of the Trade

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef Knife
  • Spatula
  • Small Micro-Safe Bowl

Directions

Step 1
Chop the celery stalk, onion as per directions. Place them in a small micro safe bowl with the relish and celery seed. Micro on high for 1 minute - Set aside
Step 2
Remove the skin and all the bones from the chicken. Mince about 1/3 of the meat and small dice the remaining chicken. Place in the mixing bowl.
Step 3
Add the small bowl of vegetables and mix well. Add the mayonnaise, minced celery leaves and fold into the mixture.
Step 4
Chill completely before serving.

 

 

 

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