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September 20, 2011

20110920-062017.jpgwe finished harvesting, trimming and washing the last of the celeriac yesterday. i think it could easily win the title of world’s ugliest vegetable, but i am quite fond of it. i don’t even really like celery, but the purée of celery root (think mashed potatoes) is a uniquely delicious fall and winter treat.

20110920-062119.jpgeach bulbous “root” (technically a stem botanically) has a web of thick and thin fibrous roots it has been developing for months — we sowed the seed in march and transplanted seedlings in may. spread wide and deep, they make pulling up the plants a two hand, full strength job.

once i have a plant out of the ground, i hack the root mess back with a machete, then whack off the top and remove the remaining remnants of the leaves with the insides of my thumbs. back at the wash station, i dump the trimmed celeriac in a tub of cold water to loosen the soil clinging to its crevices, and then spray each one individually until it is acceptably clean.

20110920-062218.jpgmy fingers are stained brown from breaking off the petioles so they don’t get slimy in cold storage — and with all the handling, my washed and scrubbed hands still have a faint celery smell to them. but it’s much more pleasant than the onion/garlic smell my hands perpetually had one semester of college when i chopped dozens of them every wednesday for my dining co-op!

we now have 447 of these pale, knobby celery flavored baseballs stacked in the cooler, waiting to feed our CSA members in the cold of winter. now it’s on to getting all the potatoes and winter squash out of the field!


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