Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Life Goes On

In this case, a tiny life goes on the nearly defunct celery, crawling spotlessly for the camera.
That celery patch has been a prolific and shockingly strong-flavored crop ever since we planted it last summer. We felt guilty for not harvesting as much as we could, but jeepers, after a while, the green-shoe-polish taste of the ribs got to be nearly too-too.
Not that we didn't love it! We just didn't love it enough to eat it all up.
We dug up a few heads of celery and gave them away. The others, we merely trimmed off stalks as needed, and left the rest to grow.
Finally, this spring, the stalks are kaput. Woody, hollow. Time to throw in the trowel.
And, yet, the seed heads are sprouting, so beautifully. If I wait a little longer, will I be able to collect celery seeds?
And can I cut off the celery leaves before they turn brown (already I'm seeing tinges), and preserve them, maybe by blanching and freezing?
I am getting impatient. The stalks that support the seed heads are still just barely juicy and tender enough to dice and cook with. But every time I chop down a stalk, I sacrifice a blossom. Nature's funny that way.
I've decided to hold out a little longer before digging up the entire patch. Somebody besides me is fond of the garden.


namastenancy said...

Is it too late to save any of the celery? You can make all sorts of slaw using the celery or cream of celery soup. Blanching the celery helps remove a lot of the bitterness and what can go wrong with cream?


* 3 quarts chicken stock
* 3 pounds celery, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 pound carrots, julienned
* 1/2 pound onions, chopped
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 3 quarts hot milk
* Butter (the original recipe called for a cup but I probably use a tablespoon or so and then, olive oil if I want more richness. Or course, I don't know what Julia would say.

1. Pour the chicken stock into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and milk; add to the pot along with the butter. Boil for 10 minutes, then strain out the vegetables by pouring through a sieve, or if the vegetables are large enough, a colander may be used.

dancingmorganmouse said...

I don't know about celery leaves but I always dice, cook in a little olive oil & freeze celery for later use. Carrots & onions you can keep for a bit but celery is one of those must use straight away things

Anna Haight said...

I've heard they need a lot of water to be less strong. My mother loved using celery leaves in potato salad.

Zoomie said...

I have had an unusual number of ladybugs in my garden this year, too. Even find them on my laundry when I hang it out. Must be a good year for ladybugs.

kudzu said...

Ob la di, honey!

Use every little scrap and remember it won't be long before you'll be gifted again.

Welcome those ladybugs!

cookiecrumb said...

NamasteNancy: It is indeed too late. Driftwood, y'know? However, we did make ourselves a couple of recipes of celery soup this past winter, and I welcome your version for next time. (But. A CUP of butter?!)
(Oh, and one more "but": Straining out all the vegetables?)

Ms. Mouse: I will do that henceforth. I just felt so over-entitled with all that bounty, that I didn't save any.

Anna: You'd think watering would thin out the taste, but these babies went through a Very Wet rainy season, and were still narsty.

Zoomie: Aww! Ladybugs on laundry; I love it. I do think, however, my bug was a man. ;)

Kudzu: La la, how the life goes on.
Oh dear, I guess it's time to plant celery again, already!!
(Let's not even talk about pears. Yet.)

Kevin said...

"Somebody besides me is fond of the garden."

Screw-em. They can plant their own garden if they want. It's already June, girl, and you're in California. Hell, they need a change in diet anyway. Old celery can't be all that healthy.


Zoomie said...

How can you tell? :-)

Sam said...

sometimes... I think of my favourite sandwich in the world which is cheese & celery and isnt really my favourite in the world, it's my favourite ready made sandwich in a plastic container which are better in Britain. The ceese and celery is British - it's from M&S

Sam said...

PS - i LOVE LOVE LOVE cookie-c's celery leaves.

cookiecrumb said...

Kevin: You will make some woman very happy some day. (No you won't!!) Oh, BTW, you should see all the bees in the onion patch. It's a bug garden out there.

Zoomie: No make-up! No beauty spots, no mascara.

Sam: Oh man, that's a sandwich I would never have dreamed up, and now I'm dreaming.
I will save you celery leaves for as long as possible, until I next see you. xx

ilex said...

Hmm... Pickled, spicy, garlic-ed, wood-plank celery? Or not.


I so enjoy your blog. I see you have another one that is private; sorry, because I wanted to visit.

Diane - Nevada

Zoomie said...

Snorting and giggling - you crack me up, lady!

Rev. Biggles said...

Hmmm, lady bugs. I wonder if they fast or slow twitch muscles? Dark meat?


Heather said...

Yay, celery seeds! I bet you could also toss the flower heads into a batch of quickles or use them to make your own aqvavit. I also wonder if the pollen is amazing (same plant family as fennel, why not)?

cookiecrumb said...

Ilex: Ha ha. You jester. (you're jesting, right?) But then, I might have to think of many seasons-of-life uses for this stuff.

Happy In Nevada: You are too kind. The private blog is just a place to practice my HTML. It's of no interest... not even to me, anymore.

Zoomie: I know a butch bug when I see one.

Biggles: Green meat. Green, gloopy, icky. Just right for a pit grill.

Heather: I have yet to experience celery pollen, but I'm all a'tremble by your idea of quickles. Yes.
OH, and I've decided to snag a few flowering heads and use them to decorate. In a vase. As god intended.

Sophie said...

that little ladybug is so cute. great picture :D.