More Celeriac

As a couple of people have commented on the celeriac issue, let me explain why I’m so addicted to this particular vegetable.

It’s like celery but better – I enjoy the taste of celery but hate the strings, and also, I’m not too keen on anything that is quite such hard work on the old jaw! Celeriac has the same delicate flavour, but because it’s a root vegetable (well actually, I think it’s a bulb) it’s much more versatile – you can grate it and use it raw in coleslaw, boil it and mash it like potato, steam it and turn it into a soufflé – it’s really a vegetable with a thousand uses.

It’s good to store – while it doesn’t cope particularly well in the ground once the first frosts arrive, it does seem to cope well in storage in a cool dry place. I tend to peel, chunk and blanch mine and open freeze it before packing it into big freezer bags. Then I can take out as much as I want for a given recipe. I might use it to make soup, or as a roasted vegetable with carrots, potatoes, swede and onion, or mix it fifty-fifty with potato to make a mashed topping for pies.

There are downsides to celeriac - The first is that dodgy germination rate – from what I can gather, anything from a third to a half of seeds might not come up. The second is that it likes a long time in the ground but doesn’t like hot weather, which makes it a bit of a bugger to grow! Last summer the seedlings Maurice gave us did wonderfully, because the weather was so appalling, so this year I’m almost hoping my celeriac does badly as that should mean we’ve had hot and sunny weather. If it’s dry they need to be watered: they are a bog margin plant by nature, and if it’s overly sunny, you might want to cover them with a bit of fleece. We grew ours through mulch fabric last year, this year I think I shall put them in a raised bed.

And if you can’t get seed locally, try for a seed swap – there are several online swapping agencies that can help you.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, January 26, 2009

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