Kitchen Garden

Celery Time – 2022

The rest of the celery harvest ready for cleaning and processing, Aug. 25, 2022.

The celery I grow is unlike anything available in local grocery stores. Planted March 13, it took the entire five months to get this far. I could have left some of it in the ground to grow larger. There is something to be said for getting the seasonal celery harvest and storage done all at once.

I forget when I first grew celery, yet it must have been during my eight years working on the vegetable and sheep farms. It is now a basic garden staple. How will I use it?

The best stalks will be eaten fresh. Some of the leaves have been frozen in plain water using a flexible cupcake tray. I’ll add one or two of these pellets of celery to each pot of soup I make. A plastic tub of stalks is in the refrigerator for cooking fresh. The rest will be sliced thinly and frozen in one-and-a-half cup portions in zip top bags. Looking at the yield, fresh should last until November, frozen until the next harvest in 2023.

Growing celery in the home garden is all about flavor. There is no comparison to commercially available organic celery grown in California. Mine is better in so many ways. The bold celery flavor adds to every dish I make with it. When operating a kitchen garden, adding distinct flavors to our cuisine is basic.

This variety is called Kelvin from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine. Recently someone asked if I save seeds. Usually, I do not. Kelvin celery is an improvement Johnny’s made over the previously offered iteration of the variety. They have a large research operation, and rather than save seeds from plants I like, I seek to leverage what they (and other seed companies) do to improve the genetics. Even though I spend most of my time in the garden alone, it is a collaborative activity connected to scores of people.

I know how to save most seeds. If we get to doomsday prepping, I may start saving them. For now, I’d rather be part of the community.