TL;DR, Celery is easy to preserve.
Celery, garlic and onions are my go to veggies for adding flavour to savoury dishes, bone broths, etc. I have grown garlic for close to twenty years, but nice local onions are cheap and easy to find so I don’t bother growing them. I had never tried growing celery, thinking it was too fussy.
K started growing celery last year, and it is fussy…to start. The seed needs light to germinate, so she lays it on the soil surface, and then keeps it moist until it germinates, which takes 2-3 weeks. But once celery survives its infancy, it grows vigorously. Homegrown celery tastes so much better than store bought; greener, sweeter, fragrant and juicy, and packed with nutrients. The dark green leaves make a great kale / chard / spinach / parsley substitute for recipes like spanakopita and omelettes, and the price is much better too.
An early frost last week had K out harvesting our bumper celery crop after dark, and bringing armfuls in the house for me to bag and store in the fridge. As I sadly contemplated what I figured was going to be my last homegrown celery of the year, I started wondering how long it would keep, and how I could preserve it. Much to my delight, a quick google search gave me the answer, dehydration!
Dried celery reconstitutes so well it is hard to tell from fresh, and dried celery leaves mimic dried parsley so closely, it is impossible to tell the difference. Yay! I even found a recipe for celery salt. Mmmmmmmmm.
Yesterday was celery drying day, and it only took a couple hours to clean, trim and chop enough celery and celery leaves to fill my dehydrator – about 15 lbs.
The unseasonable hard frost we had last week has given way to our more usual warm wet west coast fall weather, and K’s celery survived the frost and snow quite well. Who knows, if our winter is mild, it might even over-winter, and give us a crop of celery seed in the spring.