A tip for this Thanksgiving: save your celery leaves. Instead of discarding these humble scraps, you can save them to make a jar of homemade celery salt that will add a delightfully light, herby flavor to soups, salads, eggs, seafood and anything else you like for months to come.
I saw this recipe from the ever-inventive Heidi at 101 Cookbooks this summer and could not resist the novelty of turning a throwaway item into something useful. Celery salt is not something I would think to buy, though I know it’s a commonly-used flavoring in many packaged products. I’ve been surprised at how much I like having it on hand.
Commercial celery salt is made with ground celery seeds, but Heidi’s homemade version is so much prettier with its delicately crumbled green leaves. And the aroma is heavenly – sometimes I open up the jar just to smell its fresh greenness.
A sprinkle adds a subtle twist to all kinds of dishes. I love it on an omelette, tomato soup, roasted potatoes, or any kind of seafood. It would also liven up popcorn or french fries, and of course it would be perfect for a Bloody Mary cocktail.
You don’t need to make celery salt in the midst of busy Thanksgiving preparation – just save the leaves for after you’ve recovered from the holiday feast.
These leaves are from one bunch of celery. Packaged celery often has the top leaves already cut off, but there are always leaves inside. Rinse and make sure they’re very dry.
You can store the leaves in the refrigerator, but if you take a minute to toast them in a skillet, you can put the dry leaves in a container and store it on a shelf instead. It only takes a minute over medium-low heat.
You’ll want the leaves toasted but not brown.
Into a handy jam jar.
Crumble up the leaves, discarding any that are not crisp.
Essence of celery. Without the stringiness.
And add an equal amount of flaky salt, such as kosher salt. Flaky salt stays mixed with the crumbled leaves instead of separating out, as granulated salt would.
A little gift that will keep on giving all winter. Have a yummy Thanksgiving!
Heidi’s Celery Salt
Who knew celery leaves were so useful? Long after the celery is gone, this aromatic keeps on giving. Bright idea from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks.
- Leaves from one bunch of celery
- Flaky salt
- Pick the leaves from each celery stalk.
- Rinse the leaves with cold water. Dry thoroughly.
- Toast leaves gently to minimize browning, either by baking in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes or by heating on stovetop in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- Remove from heat and let the leaves cool completely. They’ll crisp up even more as they cool.
- Using fingers, crumble the leaves completely, discarding any leaves that aren’t crispy.
- Combine equal parts celery leaves and salt in a jar, and either stir or shake to distribute the celery leaves evenly throughout.
Sprinkle on eggs, seafood, soups, popcorn – once you start, you’ll find uses for it everywhere.
Here’s the link to a printable version.
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