Frugal Things To Do With Celery
Celery sticks, soup, and soup stock from one bunch of celery!
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Making the most of a bunch of celery!
Lots of people don’t buy fresh celery because it’s hard to use it up before it wilts. Here are some good ideas to keep your celery from wilting and to use up the ends and pieces that are leftover.
First, when you choose your celery in the store, reach to the back of the stack and pull off the packages on the top. Take the one that’s on the bottom in the back. That one is sure to be fresher and has not been pawed over by other shoppers. Of course, you should look at it to make sure it’s good and doesn’t have any bad spots, but chances are, it won’t.
As soon as you get home, take your celery out of the package and use a sharp knife to cut the top off the entire bunch. Cut the rest of the bunch into three pieces crosswise all at once. This will leave you with the bottom part and the tops and the rest of the bunch cut into manageable snack pieces (about 3‘ long) like in the photo!
Set the tops and bottoms aside in a bowl. Sort through the pieces you have cut. Separate the edible odds and ends from the nice, clean, snack size pieces of celery. Add everything that’s edible, but not exactly perfect to the bowl with the tops and bottom of the celery stalk. You will use these later.
Also save the leaves and inedible bits. You can use these for soup stock by either boiling them and then simmering them with other veggie ends and pieces now or collecting them in a bag in the freezer until you have enough veggie ends and pieces to make soup stock. Alternately, you can compost them, feed them to a hamster, guinea pig or other critter, or just toss them out under the bushes to return to the soil. Don’t just throw them in the trash or put them down the garbage disposal. That‘s wasteful!
Prepare & Store Your Celery Sticks
Put all the snack size pieces of celery into a colander and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. If you like to take the strings out of your celery, now is the time to do it (add them to your soup stock scraps) but remember, the strings provide good roughage.
Put the celery sticks in an airtight plastic container, and pour fresh, filtered water (like Brita water) over them. Put them in the refrigerator. Change the water every day. By storing your celery in this manner, you can keep it crispy and fresh for 5-7 days ready to eat as a snack or cut up and use in other dishes.
Now turn your attention to the ends and edible pieces. You can make delicious cream of celery soup, much, much better than canned, quickly and easily!
You will need:
- All the edible remainders of the celery chopped up small.
- A medium sized diced onion
- ½ cup of pure, filtered water
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
Put the chopped celery, diced onion and water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 13 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, make a white sauce with:
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour (I use whole wheat)
- ½ tsp cornstarch
- 2 ½ cups milk
Melt the butter in a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. While it is melting, whisk the flour and cornstarch together. Blend the dry ingredients into the melted butter. Cook and whisk until the flour turns slightly golden. Slowly add the milk, stirring the whole time with a wire whisk. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens.
By now your celery and onions should be cooked. Add them to the sauce, stirring gently.
Now add spices. I like:
- A dash of red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp of curry powder
- Coarse black pepper to taste
- If you have not added chicken bouillon cubes, you will also want to add salt to taste.
This makes 3 or 4 mugs of soup. I like to have one right away with Parmesan cheese and wheat crackers or homemade bread. I let the rest cool, then put it in a refrigerator container and have a cup every day or two until it’s gone. It keeps in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. I suppose you could freeze it, but I’m not sure what that would do to the texture of the celery.
Make Vegetable Stock!
Making soup stock is very easy. Just gather all the inedible parts of all kinds of veggies for a while until you have enough to loosely fill a 2 quart soup pot. Mine usually consists of the outside leaves of cabbage (which cannot be frozen) the core of cabbage, carrot ends and tips, the outer layer of onions, leaves and the stub end of the celery stalk, potato peels, and all the other stuff lots of people put down their garbage disposal!
Cover the veggie scraps with fresh, filtered Brita water and place on the stove over high heat. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for an hour. Let the stock cool, then strain it through a colander. You can compost the boiled veggies. You can keep the stock in the freezer indefinitely and use it instead of water to make soup, stew or beans. It adds tremendous flavor to anything you cook.
And that’s how you make the most of a bunch of celery!