Protect celeriac and start harvesting
Every family has its minor rituals and one of ours is that I make celeriac purée for Christmas dinner, and celeriac and chestnut soup for Boxing Day. Both are, though I say it myself, completely delicious. Celeriac is in many ways a hard sell – it is warty and misshapen and sits uneasily between root and stem. But it is well worth growing. This year’s dry conditions were a challenge for it as it needs rich soil and must never dry out. It also has a long growing season, germinating as tiny seedlings in March and never ready to lift until October or November. But the earthy, celery taste is a joy. When lifted, trimmed, peeled, washed and boiled until soft, then mashed with masses of butter, cream and freshly ground black pepper, it is the perfect accompaniment to a Christmas turkey or – as I much prefer – goose. Celeriac is not fully hardy, so the plants should be mulched thickly with straw to protect them from heavy frosts. Yet even so, I have in the past had to resort to using a pickaxe to prise the roots from frozen ground in order to maintain our Christmas tradition.
gardenersworld.com December 2018
Harvest celeriac in small batches, leaving the rest in the ground, mulched with straw, until you are ready to use them