What to do with all that celery…
Celery from 2011 Prairieland Food Prairie Pak
At our house we almost always buy two Prairie Paks,
( yes, PLF says "Pak" instead of "Pack" so we do too! )
and sometimes three full packs. Can you dig how much
fresh celery that amounts to when celery is on the menu?
Celery, with all it's wonderful flavor is a staple in many
homes where Mom's truly like to cook. The reason is clear:
versatility. A few reasons why...
First, you can dip it - when fresh it's crunchy texture makes
it a flash to upload a wad of your favorite dip. The bigger
the wad, the better, eh?
Second, you can stuff it - with velveeta, pimento cheese, cream
cheese, peanut butter and uh, what else can we think of folks?
The only reason we do not "stuff" more often at our house is I
am not crazy about de-stringing the celery. If I'm going to take
the time to stuff it, I feel like de-stringing is a also a must.
We "stuff" when company is coming, mostly.
Third, cooking it in your favorite recipes - celery, without a
doubt is the best accompaniment flavor when cooking chicken
for casseroles and soups. And some of the very best flavor is to
be had in the leaves. Yep, that's right. Chop and put some
celery tops in your pot of chicken when pre-cooking to prepare
a dish from a recipe.
Fourth, add to fresh salads. Celery adds a bit of crunch to
chicken and tuna salads as well as any vegatable salad you
prepare for your family or friends.
Fifth, chop celery to freeze for later use in your own recipes.
Celery is basically water. When freezing it you are going to cause
the water in the cells to expand and turn it quite soft upon thawing.
Use frozen celery for soups, casseroles, sauces and stock only.
If your celery has become limp, chop it and freeze it! It will
still be good to cook with.
Eat it raw with a little salt, chop it and freeze it too!
You may think I found all this on the web. Well, you'd be wrong
on that score. My Mom (R.I.P.) taught me more about cooking,
just off-handedly in her kitchen or mine, that I can hardly imagine
what kind of cook I'd be without all those comments, thrown out
with no more thought than if she was talking to herself.
Thanks to my Mom, I can make the best southern cornbread from scratch,
dumplings from scratch, and banana pudding, (and more) you ever wrapped
your lips around. Did you know there is a certain type of potato for
creamed and another type for mashed that tastes best? And do you know
how to pick the best onions for sweet or hot flavor? My Mom taught
me all that, and so much more. (back to celery...)
Celery, in all it's different ways of pleasing us should be a summer
and winter staple in kitchens everywhere. Oops! Almost forgot this!
Sixth, you can dehydrate celery. The flavor intensifies and in this
form is very handy, as it may take less to garner more flavor.
I have a dehydrator I bought about 15 years ago, when making jerky
was a fad around here. I have found that it really comes in handy
for more than just jerky tho'.
Chicken drums cooking with celery and chopped celery to freeze.
Celery is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol.
It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid,
Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary
Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Celery - Good for ya' too, eh?
Celery and chicken drumsticks pictured are both from Prairieland
Food Discount Food Packages Program. Whew, that can be a mouthful.