celery question

riley17(5)January 1, 2010

I was doing some winter reading about new crops I want to try this year and I read that celery always needs to stay moist. Ok, I can do that. Then the book says to hill up your celery up to the top leaves. Wont that make the stems turn white? I thought celery stems were supposed to be green. So my question is should I hill my celery? Will that turn it white?

Thanks, :)

Holly

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farmerdilla

Once upon a time folks wanted white celery stalks. The way that was attained was to blanch the stalks, by covering them with dirt. Today most folks have leaned to like green celery, so blanching is rarely done in North America.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 5:02PM
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denninmi(8a)

I've heard of this, but never seen it done or done it myself.

However, if you wanted to do this, instead of bothering with soil, I would just make a reasonably tight collar of heavy cardboard or several layers of newspaper or kraft paper. People do this a lot to blanch cardoon, another stalk vegetable similar in form to a giant head of celery.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:33PM
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riley17(5)

Thanks! Thats very interesting, I wonder how much difference in taste there is between blanched celery and green celery? I think I will try it, blanch half and leave half this year and see. :) I've never had white celery.

I've never heard of cardoon either, I'm going to go look it up. Maybe I will grow that too. :)
Thanks!
Holly

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:38PM
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brookw_gw

Half gallon milk cartons with the bottoms cut off and lightly filled with soil work great for the blanching as well.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:34PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

The taste is quite different. I grew celery for the first time last year it had a very strong unpleasant taste. I tried to blanch with black plastic and the plastic burned the leaf tops. I think that the best method would be to wrap the stalks with paper and secure with big rubber bands.
I harvested all 15 plants at the same time so what do you do with that much celery? The celery grew quite well, but I probably will not plant again. Maybe you'll have better success than I did.

Luke

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 8:17AM
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riley17(5)

I was going to chop it up and freeze it because we go through a lot of it. Mostly we use it in the winter when we make soup, like 3-4 times a week. I hope the taste doesnt come out strong, I hate celery taste except in the soup. I like to experiment though so even if it doesnt work I'll have fun trying. :)
thanks
Holly

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 10:06AM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Holly, I think that if I had blanched it properely that it would have been much better. Give it a go.

Luke

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:31PM
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jekyll(New Zealand)

There are different types of celery, some which are supposed to be blanched and some which are not. In NZ, I have only come across the green varieties which do not require blanching, and I've never seen anyone actually blanch it.

The variety that I grow is called 'Tall Utah', so I assume it originated in the USA. I think that it is probably the same variety that is grown commercially here, but when I grow it, I find that it is a lot stronger in flavour than the bought celery. I prefer it that way, after a couple of years of homegrown, the commercial celery tastes watery and bland.

Celery is one of my garden essentials - I live in a fairly wet area so keeping it watered is easy for most of the year. The way that I use it is to cut stems off it throughout the winter and spring. That way I get around the "all ready at once" problem.

Not sure that would work for you, I know that I can grow things through winter that don't work in much of the USA, since the winters here are mild.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 1:32AM
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bsntech(5b)

riley17 -

Since celery is mostly all water - I'm not sure that you can actually freeze celery. I guess if you just use it in soups, it may work but it won't have the firm body they would otherwise have.

I'm going to try celery this year myself. I purchased some Ventura seed from Fedco the other day so we'll see how that turns out.

Here is a link that might be useful: BsnTech Gardening Blog

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:40AM
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calliope(6)

I always grow celery, since the price at the market seldom comes down, and it's a crop one doesn't see often in our farmer's markets. I do use the self-blanching Utah something or other, and no.......I do not blanch it. You don't need to plant as much as you'd think, because unlike the way it is harvested for sales in stores, you do not need to cut the plant off for home use. It will grow perpetually all season in your garden, if you just harvest from the outer stalks as you need it and leave the heart/crown intact. The very outer stalks are the toughest/woodiest and strongest tasting. I go down through my rows, peel the nastiest outside stalks back a little and take a sharp knife and remove a few from each plant of the middle stalks. I leave the outside stalk remaining and leave a good deal of the inner most stalks. What happens, is that the stalks toward the inside are naturally blanched, and more tender.

They are great for cooking like in soups and meatloaf. For a family of two I normally stick in eight to ten plants and end up using only a small portion of the total production. I dug up eight plants this year and moved them into my heated greenhouse in one gallon nursery pots and shall have it all winter.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:00PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

To freez celery , I think you should blanch it in boiling water, cool it down rightaway and freez it. same way you frees beans, broccolies...potatoes.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:21AM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

Celery needs some blanching, unless dark green, incredibly bitter vegetables turn you on ;-) If you shut it off completely from the sun, then it will turn white as photosynthesis is not possible. As someone suggested, plastic milk containers are ace as they will filter out enough sun to keep the plants from turning deep green, but not so much that they go pale

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:37PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I have been growing the tall Utah as well. Growing celery has worked very well for us, for some of the reasons mentioned above:

You can harvest a few stalks at a time as you need them, then you are not stuck with a whole head of celery in your fridge when you only need one or two ribs...

The celery that we grow tastes stronger, so for flavoring we need to use less. To me stronger is better...but it is milder when the weather is cool.

Also, in my climate it appears to be a perennial? It also self sows. I planted a few once, I always have celery growing now (3 years later). It was really interesting that at one point after it flowered and seeded the large stalks browned and died. So i cut them off and I find a little baby celery growing from the middle of the original plant! plus, we have new baby celery from the self sowing. I have them planted near the soaker hose but other than that, they do not seem to require much care. I treat them like an herb, similar to parsley. Having celery in my garden is a no brainer for us.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 4:04PM
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armymomma(CenTX 8)

Great post calliope. I was avoiding planting celery as I figured it wasn't worth the effort to have to harvest a whole row at once. Now that I know this I will give it a shot. Thanks for that information.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:30PM
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calliope(6)

Celery is a biennial. It'll go to seed the second year under normal circumstances.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 9:05PM
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calliope(6)

armymomma, celery is like green peppers in that as long as it is large enough to bother with, it can be harvested and if you don't want or need it for periods of time, it's quite happy to just sit there and keep growing. It doesn't 'ripen' to the point where it has to be cut.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:22PM
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