Veg in the Spotlight: Celeriac

November 14, 2023 by General Administrator

This week is the annual event that is the celeriac harvest, which means this staple root of the winter shares will be pulled from the ground, have some of its spindly roots trimmed off, and then be stored in a sand ‘clamp’ in the pole barn in the same way that the beets were recently. The damp sand protects the root veggies from winter frosts and prevents moisture loss which would reduce the quality of the veg.

‘Clamping’ is a traditional method for storing veg through the winter and is particularly used in regions where the winters are harsh and digging veg out of the ground is not possible for a large part of the winter. For us, a particularly cold winter would also put us in a position of not being able to harvest roots when we need them, and in a milder winter, the frosts we do get can still damage the tops of the roots meaning they would deteriorate in the field. The alternative frost protection for veg left in the fields is a thick layer of straw, but we’ve found that when we don’t get many frosts, the veg underneath starts to rot. It is also a useful storage method when the land needs to be turned to something else (though this doesn’t apply for us). As we are off-grid, traditional storage methods such as these are essential at Canalside to maintain the quality of the veg through the winter and into the spring: we don’t have access to the power/facilities needed for refrigerated storage, as would be used by the supermarkets and veg wholesalers.

With a taste a bit like celery, some people can find celeriac difficult to use, but it’s a very versatile vegetable adding flavour from everything from soups and casseroles to gratins and salads (yes, it’s delicious raw – for example a grated celeriac salad in mayonnaise is a typical French dish that you will find in any charcuterie in France).

If you have any good recipes that you’ve tried and enjoyed, please add them to the Canalside Facebook group to help other members enjoy their celeriac shares this year. Then look out for a round up of recipes in the next news update in a couple of weeks.

Here are two to get you started, from the bank of recipes on the Canalside website:
Hasselback celeriac with miso and red onion
Celeriac pasta ribbons

And you can find all the celeriac recipes from our recipe contributors over the years with this link.

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