We have a lot of trouble growing celery here in New England. I think it needs a longer summer. to mature. Nevertheless, every year we start some seeds of it in early spring. Every year, we put out the pitiful little seedlings that look like they’ll never make it. And every year, right before the first front, we cut down the cute bushy thing that somehow defied expectation and managed to grow.
Why do we do it though? Some people eat it as a low calorie filler. Others like the fact that it’s an almost flavorless medium of consuming other things like peanut butter or hummus. Ironically, we grow it for the flavor. While the stalks are pretty bland when they’re a couple of months old on the grocery store shelves, the leaves themselves offer an amazing, if subtle addition to whatever you’re cooking. Don’t believe me? Sniff a bag of celery seed when you’re next in the spice aisle. We grow the Giant Red Re-Selection Celery from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
This particular selection has a rather pitiful, limp stock, but lots of leaves. We’ll cut them up into little pieces, freeze them, and drop them into soups over the winter. Good soup starts with onions, butter, and celery in the bottom of a crock pot.
NPR did a story about celery on June 13. The author explored the history of celery use by humans and explored the odd and varied reasons we grow this bland, crunchy, low calorie stalk.