Dried Celery

 What to do with end-of-season celery that has gone over and is not suitable for salads? Dry and use as a flavour enhancer in soups, casseroles, curries, hotpots, etc. Celery stalks and leaves can be dried although the leaves on our celery plants had gone well past their best so were not included.

You need to blanch them for 4 minutes in boiling water if you wish to retain the green colour. For our purposes, colour is irrelevant so we just cut the stalks into 5-7 cm lengths, place on the desiccator trays and switch on.  Our desiccator is a basic single temperature unit so no sophistication here. The aromatic odour of celery fills the house - an added bonus.

After about 6-8 hours, with a little tray shuffling to even out heat distribution, the celery stalks are dry enough for grinding. We use a basic coffee grinder (I think it was half price in Sainsbury's after Xmas) with a 15-second grind. After filtering through a colander, any big bits are returned to the grinder for another spin.

Finally, seal in an air-tight jar and use as a flavouring. Celery is rich in potassium and sodium, especially the former, so has a salty taste - allowing you to reduce the amount of common salt (sodium chloride) you add to any dish.


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