A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Snatch up that Celery!

If you see celery at farmer's market, grab some bunches.  Farmer's market celery is less watery, has a much deeper celery flavor and is more crunchy than store bought.  Not many farmers carry it though; and when they do, it goes fast!

I buy at least 3-4 bunches and freeze it for the winter.  It's simple to freeze--just wash, chop and package.
Many recipes call for chopped celery. 
Have yours ready to go all winter long!

To wash it, I cut it first; put it in the sink or a bowl of water and swish it around for a while.  Drain and rinse well.  Then pat out the excess moisture between towels or in a salad spinner.
To chop it, I first cut off the fat core end, then pull off the leaves with their skinny stems.  Set the leaves/stems aside.  Then chop as for a recipe.
I package it in 1/2 and 1-cup amounts in sandwich or snack bags; then put all the smaller bags in a gallon ziploc bag and label. 

For the stems, I first package a couple of good fistfuls of leaves in a freezer ziploc to be used for making chicken/beef/pork broth or soups.  4-5 leaves gives plenty of flavor to a large pot of soup or broth. 
The rest of the leaves, I make celery broth as follows:  Put leaves in a pot, cover with 4-6" of water and then slowly simmer until the water is about half as much.  Strain out the leaves, cool the broth completely, then package as above in 1-cup packages.  Celery broth is awesome for cooking rice, lentils or couscous; for adding to soups or stews; or as a substitute for water in any recipe.

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