When we talk about eating celery, we always think about the thick, juicy, light green stalk we eat as finger food or chop to fine pieces as an ingredient to soups and stews, even though it is also common to cook and eat the leaves of the celery. But when it comes to celery microgreens, this is eating celery that looks different from the typical appearance of celery when we eat it. But even though the appearance is different, celery microgreens carry both the flavor/taste as well as the nutrients mature celery has.
Species: A. graveolens
Binomial name: Apium graveolens
Celery Microgreen Trivia
- Celery has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity.
- Celery is one of the vegetables found in Carl Linnaeus’s Species Plantarum book published in 1753.
- Celery is considered a cleansing food. You eat celery after a period of eating meat when there is very little vegetable was available to eat.
- The most popular celery cultivar in North America is the Pascal cultivar.
- Celery is among those found in the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Celery Microgreen Buying Guide
Celery microgreens are sold in groceries, supermarkets, farmers markets, and other specialty stores. Ask around for local growers so that you can source your celery microgreens locally. When buying celery microgreens, buy just enough that you can eat until the next grocery day, since celery microgreens do not keep for longer than a week even if stored in the refrigerator.
If this is the first time you are buying and eating celery microgreens, try to buy in small quantities first so that you can taste it; should you not like it, you don’t have a lot of celery microgreens to dispose of and you are not being wasteful (you can ask your neighbors if they want it, so someone else can eat it).
When buying, make sure to inspect it thoroughly. See if the leaves and stems are of good quality and appear fresh. It is ok if one or two are wilted, but if most of the bunch are wilted, soggy, and do not appear fresh, do not buy it.
If you are buying seeds so that you can grow your own celery microgreens, you can buy them in the store or even online, and this will give you an idea of how many seeds you expect to get from a pack.
- 1-ounce pack contains approximately 8,000 seeds
- 4-ounce pack contains approximately 32,000 seeds
- 1-pound pack or bag contains approximately 128,000 seeds
- 5-pound pack or bag contains approximately 640,000 seeds
- 25-pound pack or bag contains approximately 3,200,000 seeds
Celery Microgreen Production & Farming in Texas
To grow celery microgreens, fill your growing tray with potting soil and make sure your growing tray has drainage holes. Run a ruler or cardboard over the soil, slightly pressing and compacting it to make sure the soil is even and there are no depressions anywhere. Mist the soil and make sure it is evenly spread on the tray. Using a seed shaker bottle, sprinkle the seeds all over the potting soil on the tray. Celery microgreen seeds do not need soaking before planting. Do another round of misting but be careful not to overdo it. Cover the tray and let them sit in a dark place for two to three days. You’ll know they already need light when leaves start to show. But do not expose them to direct sunlight. Use grow lights (highly preferred for growing buckwheat microgreens) or the shade from a window. When they are big enough, harvest by cutting them at the base just above the soil.
Unlike many microgreens, germination of celery microgreen seeds takes longer, usually 5 to 7 days. Blackout time should be between 7 to 9 days. Harvest is expected in 14 to 21 days.
- Buy celery microgreen seeds from a reputable seed seller or distributor.
- Water from the side of the tray to make sure the weight of the water will not squash the microgreens. Or water it by filling a tray below the growing tray.
- Rotate crop once it is exposed to light to avoid “bending” microgreens.
Celery microgreens are grown and sold in Texas, by local businesses like Bella Verdi Farms in Dripping Springs, Texas, and Native Roots Farm in Austin, Texas. There are also initiatives like the Big Tex Urban Farms that help promote the business as well as the attitude of the public towards microgreens. If you are dining out, there are restaurants in Texas that serve food with celery microgreens.
There is very little time for pests to be a problem for microgreens. If there is a pest problem, it will probably involve aphids and whiteflies. If the problem requires the use of pesticides, make note of the following:
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Whiteflies – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
Celery is grown worldwide. In the US, California and Michigan are known as the major producers of celery.
Microgreens began in the US in the 1990s in Southern California and then in San Francisco and its neighboring states in the east. The US, Canada, and Mexico are among the major producers and exporters of microgreens.
Celery microgreens are sold in transparent plastic clamshell packaging. Sometimes, you can find celery microgreens sold in Styrofoam or plastic tray covered with plastic wrap.
Enjoying Celery Microgreens
Just like any microgreens, celery microgreens can be eaten raw and it is crunchy. Just make sure it is washed and cleaned thoroughly. When you eat celery microgreens, you will notice that it has the same pungent taste you normally get from mature celery. It has a sharp and very distinct flavor.
When eating celery microgreens, it is important to be aware of potential allergic reactions. Celery is notorious for provoking allergic reactions. While it is yet to be determined if booth mature celery and celery microgreens possess the same potency for triggering allergic reactions, it is advisable for those with a history of being allergic to celery to refrain from eating celery microgreen until a physician advises them that it is safe.
If the celery microgreens you bought came in clamshell packaging, use it to store the celery microgreens in the refrigerator. If, for some reason, you need to transfer the celery microgreens to a different container, choose a plastic container with a lid. The least ideal storage is glass because it has the most condensation when in the refrigerator and the condensation contributes to the degradation of the quality of the celery microgreens inside. Avoid putting them near the vent of the refrigerator because if the temperature fluctuates, it will affect the condition of the celery microgreens. Put it on the lower shelf where the temperature is more stable. Remember that different microgreens vary when it comes to how long they keep in the refrigerator.
Like any microgreen, the celery microgreen is an excellent garnish or topping for different foods – pizzas, or soups, stews, and curries, for example. Mix this with other fresh greens to make a salad. If you are making a sandwich, replace lettuce with celery microgreens. If you are making scrambled eggs, toss a few celery microgreens in there and make it healthier and more flavorful. Celery microgreens are an excellent addition to your microgreen salad, egg salad with avocado sandwich, or tuna and egg salad sandwich. Garnish your carrot risotto or seared scallops, add greens to your chickpea salad sandwich or your fresh tomato and microgreen soup, crab cakes, or vegetable stir fry.
You can also use celery microgreens to make a healthy green smoothie. This is good especially for those who are having difficulties eating solid food.
Celery microgreens contain vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, chlorophyll, amino acids, antioxidants, and protein.