Celery

CeleryCelery takes the top spot of the dirty dozen list in most sprayed fruit and vegetables.  It is a crop that grows very slowly and in that time gets fertilised and psrayed over and over to get it to the large crops you see on the supermarket shelves.

has a crunchy texture and distinctive mildly salty flavour which makes it a popular addition to salads and many cooked dishes.  It has leaf-topped stalks arranged in a conical shape that are joined at a common base.The stalks in the centre are called the heart and are the most tender.  While most people associate celery with its stalks, the leaves, roots and seeds can also be used as a food and seasoning.

Storage: To store celery place it in a sealed container or wrap it in plastic or damp cloth and put it in the refrigerator.  If you are storing cut or peeled celery, ensure that it is dry and free from water residue.  Celery should not be kept at room temperature because it has a tendency to wilt quickly.  If you have celery that has wilted, sprinkle it with a little water and place it in the refrigerator for several hours where it will regain its crispness.  Freezing will make celery wilt and should be avoided unless it will only be used in cooked recipe.  

General Use: Cut the base and leaves off the celery and wash under running water.  Cut the stalks into pieces of desired length.  If the outside of the celery stalk has fibrous strings, remove them by making a thin cut into one end of the stalk and peeling away the fibers.  Be sure to use the leaves, they contain the most vitamin C, calcium and potassium.  Celery is a very versatile vegetable.  It can be eaten raw, with dips, made into soups and sauces, added to cooked dishes and also served as a main cooked vegetable with a hot meal.

Salad: Whisk together lemon juice, Dijon mustard and honey.  Gradually whisk in extra virgin olive oil.  Season  with sea salt and pepper.  Trim celery leaves and chop.  Thinly slice stalks on deep diagonals.  Place celery pieces in bowl of cold water.  Cover separately and refrigerate.  Drain celery and pat dry with paper towels.  Combine celery, celery leaves, peeled roughly chopped green apples, and chopped toasted walnuts in large bowl.  Add vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Season salad to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Braised: Chop celery, radicchio and onions into pieces that are roughly the same size.   Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high.  Add the vegetables and let them brown without disturbing.  Once browned on the bottom, stir them around and let them continue to brown.  Add just enough chicken broth to halfway cover the food.  Season with sea salt, pepper and whatever else you like.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender.  Remove the lid and raise the heat to high.  Let the remaining liquid boil away, tossing the vegetables frequently, until you have a thick sauce or a glaze.  Garnish and serve.