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Growing Celery From the Bottom of a Bunch
Growing celery from the base of the stalks is a fun project that couldn't be easier—plus, it's fun to do with kids. The celery sprouts surprisingly fast and, except for the cutting part, even very young children can do the whole project. If you are looking for activities for science and math skill, have the kids measure how fast the celery grows.
There are two ways to do the project: using just water or in a container with potting soil. If you are just sprouting in water, this project can be a good one for winter when it's particularly fun to see something green and growing indoors. Also, it may be enough to grow the celery in a dish—it will get pretty big—but for a more substantial project, you can plant the celery in a container with potting soil and grow it as you would a container garden.
While you may get more leaves than stalks with this method of growing and your celery may not be as big as a store-bought bunch, there are great ways to use celery leaves in cooking. Think of them as an herb: They can taste like mild celery, or be a tad bitter. You can use celery leaves in soups and stews, and some people use them as a substitute for cilantro.
What You Need
- A bunch of celery
- A large, sharp knife
- A small dish or plastic container
- Fresh water
If you want to grow your celery in a pot or container, you'll also need:
- A small garden pot or container with drainage holes in the bottom.
- Potting soil
- Slow-release fertilizer
Note: Consider using organic celery because, according to the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of the foods with the most pesticide residue, celery ranks as No. 2, beaten out only by apples. However, f you don't want to use organic, conventionally grown celery works just as well.
Look for a bunch of celery that is firm, with tightly packed stalks. The leaves should be green and fresh-looking.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Using a large, sharp knife, cut off the bottom of your bunch of celery about 2 inches from the base. You will be using the base to grow your new celery and storing or using your celery stalks.
According to Cook's Illustrated, the best way to store the stalks until you are ready to use them is to wrap them in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate. The authors found that the foil-wrapped celery remained fresher a bit longer than the plastic-wrapped celery. To revive stalks that have become a little tired or wilted, cut a half-inch off both ends and put them in an ice water bath for 30 minutes.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Growing Celery in a Dish
Take the base of your bunch of celery and put it in a small jar or dish filled with about a half-inch to an inch of water. Place the dish in a bright area out of direct sunlight.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Watch It Grow
Your celery should start to sprout in a day or two. Change the water every couple of days, and make sure the dish doesn't dry out.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Planting Celery in a Pot
If you want your celery to get bigger and grow it outside after it's sprouted, transfer it to a pot or container.
What You Need
- A celery bottom that has sprouted in water
- A container with a hole in the bottom
- Good-quality potting soil
- Slow-release fertilizer
- A piece of screening, a coffee filter or a piece of paper towel
Cover the hole in the bottom of your container with a small piece of plastic screen, a coffee filter or a small piece of paper towel. The object here is to keep your potting soil from falling out of the hole while still letting water get out.
Fill your container with potting soil until it is about 2 inches below the rim, and then mix in a slow-release fertilizer, following the directions on the bag or box. Pat down soil, so the surface is more or less even.
Add water gently until the soil is damp, not wet. Place the bottom of your sprouted celery on top of your soil. Add about another inch of soil, so that it completely surrounds your celery bottom.
Place pot in full to partial sun, and water often enough to keep the soil damp, not wet—then watch your celery grow!Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Making Homemade Celery Salt
It's really easy to make your own celery salt from using celery leaves and table salt, Kosher salt or sea salt.
All you have to do is to harvest celery leaves, wash them if they are dirty, dry them as much as possible with a clean dish towel or in a salad spinner and dehydrate them.
To dehydrate, your celery leaves, either use a dehydrator or use your oven.
If you are using an oven, preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out your celery leaves in a single layer. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the leaves are crispy and before they get brown.
Once they cool, crumble them up and mix with an equal amount of salt. Store in an airtight jar.