Did you know that if you googled Celery, you would find over 400 recipes that use it as a main ingredient or additional ingredient? That is a lot of recipes for this simple vegetable. It not only adds flavor to your dish but is also low calorie and full of nutritional benefits. Celery is a key ingredient found in many of my dishes. It is a part of two key mixes: the holy trinity and mirepoix.
Holy Trinity: This is a mixture of equal parts onion, celery, and bell pepper. It’s often found in this mixture when making Cajun dishes.
Mirepoix: This mixture is 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and celery.
Both are sauteed in oil or butter then added to other ingredients. The Holy Trinity was influenced by the French settlers in Louisiana. They found that carrots didn’t grow as well in that area and substituted the bell pepper in its place. If you are unfamiliar with the term The Holy Trinity, it means The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. This saying stems from the long history of Catholicism in that area. In fact, they will say if you add garlic to your mix, you are adding the Pope to your Holy Trinity.
Celery is full of antioxidants, vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids. It’s also good for reducing inflammation and supporting digestion. Because of all of these nutrients you don’t want to waste such a wonderful vegetable. I find that if I don’t use it quickly it starts to go soft. Here are some ways to store it better.
- Cut into smaller sticks for enjoying in a vegetable platter. Then place the sticks in water for a day before removing and placing in an airtight container. They will keep in your fridge like this for up to 2 weeks.
- Chop for use in other dishes. Then place in freezer safe containers and store in the freezer until needed. I will cut into tiny dices so they will be easily ready for any dish. I also chop the leaves and add to the stored freezer container.
- If you leave in your fridge uncut, first remove them from the store packaging. Rinse thoroughly to remove any unwanted dirt or germs. You can set the bundle in a bowl of water with vinegar for a few minutes to help break loose all the dirt and germs left on the celery. Then pat dry and wrap in paper towels. Store in your fridge. It should last up to a few weeks this way.
One final tip I learned years ago with celery is to peel some of the fibers off the back side of the celery before cutting. This is perfect if you are going to eat it raw in things like chicken salad. To do this I take a paring knife and carefully scrap up some of the fibers starting at the cut end and then pull them up and away from the celery stalk. Hopefully these tips will help you to better use this wonderful vegetable in your cooking.