Updated: Nov 20, 2021
I've never grown celery from seed before or indeed from seedlings and always thought it would be very tricky with all that 'blanching' business. However, whilst browsing through the seed catalogues last winter, the new variety called 'Pink Celery' looked so attractive, I thought I'd give them a whirl in my new raised salad bed. I was extremely surprised to find they germinated quickly, and once pricked out, they grew rapidly. The benefit of pink celery is that they are very leafy forming a natural canopy for the stems below and therefore there is no need to give them artificial shade to encourage long stems & the whole 'blanching' business is done for you by the plants. I like unfussy growers like this.
I use celery in most of my soups, stews, casseroles and along with carrots and onions, celery forms part of the cooking trio with which I start most of my sauces for Spag Bol, Chilli Con Carne & Shepherd's Pie. Celery is a most useful salad ingredient as it roasts well in a little olive oil on the BBQ in foil - in fact it transforms itself into a very wonderful fragrant vegetable, or I stuff it into chicken for roasting and it is a fabulous aromatic chopped and sprinkled over trout baked in the oven in a foil parcel. So, I was delighted to find I had over 30 plants flourishing in our salad patch and we are easily making use of them throughout the autumn and into the mild winter (so far).
Readers may also be interested in an update on September's focus on my 'Prima Bella' outdoor tomatoes, which I am pleased to report, remained mildew resistant until the first frost on 5 Nov.
Barley & Celery Salad
This recipe is very simple and healthy, making use of a few humble ingredients. It also means that if you go to the fridge and your lettuce has wilted, you can still have a salad at almost any time of the year.
200g Pearl Barley
2 Celery sticks, chopped finely
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 TBSP of Extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP Red wine vinegar
Wash the barley thoroughly then boil in a pan of water with a little salt for 30 mins.
Drain, cool and set aside.
Mix in all of the other ingredients.
Season to taste with S & P