Biennial grown as annual for fleshy leaf stems and leaves. Hardy.
Value: Low in carbohydrate and calories, high in potassium.
Usually eaten raw rather than cooking, celery adds welcome crunchiness to salads, particularly in winter months. It is a key ingredient of waldorf salad, made with equal quantities of chopped red-skinned apples and celery, combined with walnuts and bound with mayonnaise. Celery goes well with cheese—sticks filled with cream cheese or pate are an appetizing “nibble. ” The “heart” is particularly tasty. Cook celery in soups and stews, or stir-fry. Braise hearts by simmering in boiling water for 10 minutes, then cook in a covered dish for 45 minutes in a low oven to accompany roasts. Add leaves, like parsley, to meat dishes. Fresh or dried leaves flavor soups and stuffings. Cutting celery is a flavoring for salads, soups and stews; the seeds can also be used. Celery will stay fresh in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not stand in water for long, or the freshness is lost. Freeze celery by washing and cutting the sticks into 1-in lengths, blanch for 3 minutes, cool, drain, and pack into plastic bags. Use frozen celery only in cooked dishes.
Celery and Zucchini with Blue cheese Dip
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 basil leaves, roughly chopped
4Zucchini, sliced lengthwise into quarters
4 stalks celery, cut into 3- in lengths Chives, to garnish
For the dip:
4 tablespoons cottage cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
4 tablespoons yogurt salt and freshly ground pepper
In a heavy sauté pan over a gentle heat, mix the oil with the chili powder, paprika, garlic, and basil. Turn up the heat and fry the zucchini, cut side down, until browned, and turn to brown the other side. In small bowl mix together all the dip ingredients. On for small plates, arrange a fan of alternating zucchini and celery sticks and fill the center with the dip. Garnish with finely snipped chives and serve.
Cultivated varieties are said to be beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism and as a diuretic.