Celery is a kitchen staple and is as indispensable as potatoes, onions and garlic. It plays a supportive role but important role in the flavor of soups and broths as well as that crunch in potato, pasta, egg, and green salads. Used in this way, celery is treated more like and herb then a vegetable.
Celery is not an easy vegetable to grow as it is susceptible to different diseases. Because of this more needs to be planted then is expected to use. Growing it to add variety to the CSA share is worth it. Seasonal celery has a stronger flavor and fragrance than the grocery store variety.
Prep and storage:
Separate the stalks and clean them. Wrap in a paper towel and store in a zip top bag. Use or freeze within the week. If your celery has lost its crunch, cut the stalked down and store in a container of water to bring it back.
Frozen celery will not be crispy when defrosted but will be delicious in soups. If celery is being used within 2 months, it can be sliced and frozen without blanching. For the best quality and to store the celery longer than 2 month, it should be blanched.
See this link for the blanching process.
Soups could also be made using the celery then frozen to be used later.
Celery leaves can be combined with parsley and basil in a pesto. Celery leaves can also be dehydrated then celery salt made.
Carmelize sliced onions, celery pieces sliced on the bias and chopped garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoonful each of cumin, sweet paprika, salt and pepper. Stir in some chopped sweet peppers (cone peppers can be used) to just barely cook them. Take mixture off the heat and add any additional fresh herbs, parsley or chives etc and the zest and juice of a lemon. Toss this mixture with cooked lentils, faro or white beans.
Add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Can be eaten warm or room temperature.
This is a delicious dish alongside chicken or steak. Using water or vegetable broth in a slow cooker with dried tarragon and shallots or Italian season works as well!