Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I use a lot of celery in my cooking but it is sometimes hard to keep fresh celery on hand. I started drying celery a few years ago simply because I needed to be able to put it in soups and stews and other recipes without having to run to the store. And…now that it is next to impossible to get fresh vegetables without driving more than 30 miles I’ve learned what a benefit it is to have some on hand. I also like using the celery leaves in some recipes so I dry those too.
Drying celery is easy; just dice and spread on trays, rotating the trays ever half hour or so. I dry some celery leaves as well and store them in a spice bottle. Celery doesn’t get as hard as other vegetables when you dry them. It just needs to be dried until it has no moisture when you break a piece open.
One of the main reasons I started drying the celery leaves was to use in a salsa recipe I got from a friend who claim’s the celery leaves are a great addition to the recipe she calls “fresh salsa” even though it is made with canned tomatoes. It’s quick to put together and can be made with ingredients from your storage shelves. (We’ll talk about drying green peppers, onions and jalapenos later.) Try drying some celery and celery leaves and then try some of the leaves in this salsa:
Joy’s Fresh Salsa
2 qt. canned tomatoes or 4 cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ c. celery, finely chopped
¼ c. celery leaves, chopped
2 jalapenos – fresh or frozen, chopped (or less)
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. vinegar
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
Mix together and bring to a boil. Simmer a few minutes. Store in fridge; keeps up to 6 weeks.