Growing celery, what to do with the seeds and making celery salt here at PumpjackPiddlewick

So I am thinking about what to do with celery seeds. It will make sense why in a long minute.

As you enter my duck enclosure on the immediate left, in the corner, after the honeysuckle, is the lettuce patch. Except the lettuce was eaten by the ducks. (Intentionally.) It was replaced then with transplanted perpetual celery.

It was back in February, when the garden was being turned over, changed about and some hugelkultur beds added. There were these three celery plants. Essentially residing where they weren’t wanted. And so they were moved to make room for carrots.

Gone to seed

Fast forward to now and they have long since gone to seed. Which means they have bolted and flowered. It happens, even if you keep cutting your celery. Eventually the plant wants to renew itself.

The ducks have been enjoying eating the seeds they can reach. But luckily the plants had grown tall. And rather pretty with their flowers. Sort of reminds me of those Queen Anne’s lace plants you see in hedgerows, with the bunches of white flowers. Probably a relation.

Harvest time

I had been meaning to harvest the celery seeds for ages. Finally getting around to it the other day. Duly mounded up plants in my basket, I wafted a trail of these little seeds wherever I walked.

Getting them out of the basket was even more tricky as each movement caused more seeds to fall. Luckily these plants have a lot of celery seeds. And they are tiny!

I put some white cardboard down on the dining table. Rubbing the flower areas released the celery seeds onto the card. And everywhere else as well. Soon the white was almost hidden in an array of little brown dots.

Fine sieve to hand, they were then poured through it into a bowl. And even then some fine particles were to be found and tweezered out of the seeds. Until finally, I had a bowl of simply celery seeds.

Now what?

Why celery salt of course. I absolutely love the smell and flavour. Of all the herbs, etc. that you can add to salt, this has to be my favourite. And so very easy to make.

You can actually make celery salt with the leaves of the plant too. You don’t have to wait until the plant goes to seed. But when it does, it’s natural to use these seeds in a salt. And of course keep some back for planting next year to start the cycle again.

If you are one of those people that is never quite sure what to do with the leafy part of a bunch of celery, here is your answer. Make some celery salt. (Note, also great in a quinoa walnut salad.)

How to make?

Both versions are super easy to make. If making with the leaves you have the option of drying them first, or not. If not drying, be aware the moisture in the leaves will initially clump the salt a bit. This can be avoided by putting rice at the bottom of the container. You could roast the leaves for about 20 minutes to dry them out, if preferred.

Whether leaves or seeds the ratio is more or less 1 part celery something to 2 parts salt. You can easily vary this ratio if you prefer more celery flavour or more salty. In researching recipes I found everything from equal parts to barely any salt at all. The choice is yours. And isn’t that nice? You can make it exactly how you like it.

To make: whiz your two ingredients in a blender or mixer until you get the consistency you like. Done. See, that simple. Takes about 10 seconds. Some people whizz the dried leaves first then add the salt. I don’t recommend this with non dried leaves as you will end up with something more like pesto. Me, as I am using celery seeds, it’s a whizz all at once job.

Why go to the trouble of making your own?

Three reasons.

First, when was the last time you purchased celery salt? (If ever.) It is rather expensive come to think about it. And when you realise how easy it is to make, you have to wonder at the profit margin.

Two. Not to mention, check out the ingredients on a store bought version. Eww. There are sometimes things in there that just, well, don’t make any sense. So stick with making your own.

Three. It’s also more flavoursome.

And then…

Now I hear you all say, but what does one actually do with celery salt?

Try it wherever you would use salt normally. Bloody Mary, veggie dip, potato salad, stew. I have even used in soda bread to give it an extra savoury zing, simply substituting the regular salt with my celery version.

Also, any time a recipe calls for celery and you don’t have it, use this salt instead. (Note, equating to the salt measurement, not the celery measurement.)

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