Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stalker in the Compost

Celery Is Stalking My Compost Pile

Celery: It’s a perfect food to add crunch to potato salad and chicken salad. After it’s sautéed, I most often use it as part of stuffing ingredients. Snack food? No! If I want to floss my teeth, I have some white thready stuff in my bathroom cabinet designed for just that purpose. Unlike when I take a bite or two or three of a celery stalk, I can pull that floss right through my teeth, minus the gouging, and tugging. And floss is not green.
I can’t call celery a vegetable, even though it is, because it’s mostly water, with a hint of a green tint. Not what I’d call a nutrient-dense food, a 12-inch stalk has ten calories, one of them from fat, no protein, a few carbs, a bit of fiber, negligible vitamins A and C, and negligible calcium and iron—one percent of your daily value, and that one percent is a surprise. It’s not true that chewing celery burns more calories than the celery itself contains. It that were the case, I’d start chewing Lindt truffles.
Celery is a part of excellent soup stock, but I have a household of two most days. One of those never eats soup and Central Florida’s mild winters mean soup days are rather low in number.
I buy celery for a sauté or the aforementioned potato or chicken salad. After I use a few stalks, I put the remainder in the crisper drawer, along with my good intentions to use it . . . soon.
Soon doesn’t come soon enough, and when I next need celery, it’s on its way to becoming compost. The parts that aren’t brown and gooey are as limp as the noodles in that soup for which Andy designed the label. My good intentions turn to guilt when I realize I’ve wasted yet another clump of celery. It’s a few dollars at most, and I am guilty of wasting other things; however, the celery is particularly distressing because I have never used a whole head of celery. I sometimes think I should use what I need, skip that whole refrigerator, brown limp goo phase, and toss leftover celery directly in the compost pile.

Will it grow, or will it turn to more compost?

It’s that time again. I cleaned the fridge last night and found yet another green gooey mess. It was headed toward the compost, but I recalled a recent article on growing celery from the ends. I cut the end and put it in a bowl of water near a sunny windowsill. It’s May in Central Florida, far too late to start a cold-season vegetable, but, hey, I have good intentions. Maybe I can plant it in the semi-shade once it starts growing. If it fails, there’s always the compost.

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