Wednesday, January 28, 2015

celeriac: ugliest / most versatile veggie

I love trading seeds and seedlings - I have a friend who is going to trade me celeriac seedlings in exchange for something he doesn't have(TBC)- lucky me!
I've never grown, cooked, or even eaten celeriac - but I'm willing to give it a go as its reputation precedes itself. It is the quintessential ugly veggie: lumpy and brown like an overgrown wart - but upon browsing recipes, see it is very versatile and lends itself to a multitude of potential good eats. You can steam, bake, boil, puree or stir-fry it — the possibilities are endless! You may also opt to store the root in a cool and dry area of your home and on the Coast, according to it is suggested to grow celeriac for picking in the fall and early winter. 
Growing tips: Celery is a heavy feeder and needs rich, moist soil. Add compost to soil and apply ¼-½ cup of complete organic fertilizer per 1.5m (5′) of row. Transplant when seedlings are 10-12cm (4-5″) tall, in mid-May to July. Space transplants 30cm (12″) apart in rows at least 45cm (18″) apart. Water frequently.
The ancestor of both celery and celeriac grew in marshy areas, and the closer your soil is to a rich and moist environment, the happier your celeriac will be. A generous amount of compost or rotted manure worked deeply into the soil before planting helps retain moisture and add nutrients. When the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, you can mulch with straw to conserve the soil moisture as you head into the warmer days of summer.
 It is a great keeper and will remain in good condition for four to six months in a root cellar or refrigerator crisper.
Here is a great tutorial if you're planning on starting seedlings yourself:
Harvest: Celeriac can be harvested and eaten before it attains its maximum size, but its flavor, like that of other root vegetables, is improved by a touch of frost, which converts some of its starch to sugar.
Recipes: celeriac, potato, rosemary gratin; mustardy celeriac mash; and this
veggie crumble are all on my list to cook up next Fall when the roots are sweet from  a bit of frost. Now that's planning ahead!
Happy Gardening 2015

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