Celery stories

As I said many months ago, Maurice was kind enough to give us some celery seedlings when we first got our plot, but he didn’t know if they were self-blanching or not. As a result, after I planted them, I didn’t know if I needed to blanch them or not!

I only lost one of the nine, to slugs, so I was left with eight quite vigorous celery plants and a decision to make. To blanch or not to blanch? I decided to hedge my bets and blanch three. Unblanched celery has a deeper green colour and a stronger flavour than blanched celery, and it's higher in vitamins and minerals, but a lot of people prefer the taste of blanched celery which is softer and sweeter. There are a number of ways to blanch – you can rest boards along each side of the row to block the light: which is easy but can lead to slug infestation and we have far too many slugs to take the risk. Or you can raise up soil or mulch around the plant to block out the sun: I didn’t fancy this, as I was sure it would make the stalks difficult to clean – I remember my mum complaining about having to scrub celery when I was a kiddie - and also there’s a risk of rotting when plants are blanched with soil.

So I went with the easiest option: cutting the tops and bottoms off plastic bottles and cartons and using them as collars. I cover three plants about a week ago and apparently after a week to 10 days the stalks will lighten because the compression of the collar has excluded the sun from all the inner layers, and their flavour will become milder. So I shall go up before the weekend and do a comparison …

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, September 4, 2008

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