Celery: picking, selecting, storing
20 Oct 2013 05.44 am by Renny Wijeyamohan
Celery is delicious eaten raw, when added to a salad or as a compliment to a juice or smoothie. It’s rich in antioxidants, folic acid and Vitamin K, is neutral tasting (which means its great for fussy eaters) and is versatile when combined with meals and other flavours.
A good rule to use is to pick celery when it looks like what it would when sold at your local grocery store. The best time to pick celery is between 85 and 120 days after planting depending on the variety. Try and pick the celery before the weather becomes too hot - heat can alter its texture and flavour causing it to harden and become woody. The ideal height of the celery when it it’s ready to harvest should be around 40 centimetres (18 inches). Check that the distance between the bottom of the stalk and the first offshoot from the stalk (called a “node”) is about 13 centimetres (6 inches). To harvest – simply cut the celery bunch below the cluster of stalks with a sharp tool and remove.
When you are picking celery look for a bunch that is dark green coloured with healthy leaves. If the leaves are yellow or brown it can mean that the celery is past its prime and is no longer nutrient rich (and won’t be good to eat).
To keep celery for the longest time (2-4 weeks) store an entire celery bunch in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Place a layer of paper towel around the bunch to let the celery breathe a little. You also try using aluminium foil instead of a plastic bag – this will allow the ethylene gas to escape and will help the celery stay fresh. If you prefer to cut and trim the leaves off your celery for quick and easy snacks, they will last in the refrigerator for about a week.
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