BLOG NEWS: Celery season

Celery
Celery originated in Italy in the 15th century. White celery grown out of the sunlight, was first eaten in the Middle Ages in Italy and is still popular in Europe. It was eaten in New Zealand until green-stemmed celery, developed in the United States in the 1940s, was introduced into New Zealand in the 1960s.

Bright green varieties with little or no stringiness are now available. Look for bunches with a tight formation, fresh, unwilted leaves and firm stems that are crisp when snapped. Avoid bunches with brown or cracked stalks. Refrigerate in plastic bags or alternatively, refrigerate with the butt end in 2-3 cm of water and change water daily.

Celery has a subtle aroma due to the presence of unusual compounds called phthalides, which are also found in walnuts. This is why celery and walnuts go together so successfully in Waldorf salads.

Celery, carrots and onions are frequently sautéed together, finely chopped to maximise their surface area for extracting all the aromatic compounds.

Fresh young crunchy celery stalks can be eaten raw as a snack – most children love pieces of celery filled with crunchy peanut butter.

Use young celery leaves from the centre of the bunch mixed with other leaves in a green salad or use outside leaves as flavouring in your favourite winter soup or casserole.

Cooked celery is delicious, so try it finely sliced and lightly stir fried, drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Alternatively try Braised spiced celery with spinach – the recipe is on the vegetables.co.nz website - http://www.vegetables.co.nz/recipes/view/braised-spiced-celery-with-spinach

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