Enjoy now: celery
Celery tends to be a bit player – albeit an important one – and seldom the main event: its unique flavour doesn’t stand out yet it makes a huge difference to soups, stews, sauces, stocks and other cooked dishes, while its fabulous crunch and juiciness makes it an exemplary salad ingredient. The raw stalks also make brilliant vehicles for creamy or cheesy dips – or simply just some peanut butter.
Celery is easy to grow (buy seedlings rather than seeds) and it gives you the option of picking a stalk or two when you need it: cut the outside stems, leaving the rest of the plant to keep happily growing.
Store stems in a plastic bag or tightly wrapped in foil, in the fridge; being 95 per cent water, celery freezes easily so keep it away from the coldest part. For whole celery, stand the bunch in 2-3cm water in a jar and change the water daily.
Young celery leaves – the ones from the centre – are lovely used as a herb. The tender inner stalks are also the sweetest ones to use in salads.
The tougher outer stalks are best suited for cooked dishes, although removing their fibrous strings using a potato peeler improves them immensely.
1 cup diced celery is equal to about 120g.