January 20th-22nd 2020 – CELEREEE, CELERAH, CELEREEE, CELERA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA…..

It is a great joy to prepare another newsletter as raindrops keep falling on our heads, on the once-parched soil – thirsty since summer and still harboring memories of pre-2019 winter droughts. Likewise, those of us who worked this craving earth remember how our heart ached as we pined for wet winters. After last year’s very rainy winter, it felt almost disrespectful to ask for another one, but hey – we really do need these blessed showers year after year. And the best part after their plentifulness is that they are spread out and not aggressive enough to cause floods. Together with our fields, we feel our hearts swelling and our body and soul relaxing to the rhythm of raindrops on our packing house. This is the best symphony in the world!

Our winter veggies are having a ball in the good rain, evidenced by their somewhat muddy but cheerful arrival at your doorstep. We do wash most of the vegetables in bathtubs-refurbished-as-sinks, except for the onion. Too much water can permeate its layers and cause damage, which is why your onions arrive in a very muddy state. The solution is to let the mud dry, thus crumbling off easier.
For this week’s Newsletter, I will share the great secrets of an enduring winter guest who adores wet weather so much that it actually makes him plump around the edges… Ladies and gents, I’m pleased to introduce the star of the week… CELERY!

Its name carries the exotic origins of the French “céleri,” derived from the Greek “Selinon,” of the Apiaceae family. Celery is distinguished by the fact that all of this versatile vegetable’s parts are edible: the round root, its crunchy stalk, the nutritious leaves and its teensy, tiny seeds. Today, we will primarily discuss the leaves.

All celery varieties have tiny, miniscule seeds that take their sweet time sprouting. If you ever attempt to seed them in your garden, do not despair! Make sure they are plenty moist and that you have a very long book to read while you wait patiently for some sign of life. Mr. Celery is even slower than his cousin the parsley, taking at least a month till he feels he’s ready to sprout. We cannot wait so long with the seeds under the earth, specifically since ruthless weeds are liable to cover the bed five times before allowing one little celery shoot to peek above earth. This is why we start with actual plants that have already grown in a nursery, at the prime age of two to three months.

And here they are, the young ‘uns in our field (to their left, the red lettuce; to their right, the scallions)

Although celery is a native of the Mediterranean Basin, it has been carried upon the wings of history to reach almost every place on earth. Today the vegetable can be found in Southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California, and even unto the southernmost parts of South America. Celery has a long history as a wild plant, and a relatively short one as a cultivated specie.

Celery is first documented in literature dating back almost 3000 years (making it evident that celery has been around for even longer). It is first noted by its Greek name Selinon in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. Probably the ancient celery was collected from the wild to be raised in private gardens for a variety of medicinal uses (see below), but not for edible consumption. In the Mishnah, Tractate Shvi’it, it is mentioned as a wild plant (and therefore does not require a tithe) “… and the celery in the rivers… exempt from tithe.”

Only in the 17th century did celery begin to be used as a food and spice. It was cultivated by selecting the full and solid plants (not the hollow variety) with a milder, more subtle taste. The celery’s growing season was carefully chosen in order to produce celery leaves and stalks more suitable for consumption, with a less dominant taste. Growing celery during a cold season refines its taste. In the 19th century, the Europeans tried tempering its flavor by shielding the stalks from the sun, thus preventing the development of chlorophyll. To do so, they would mound earth upon the celery, thus whitening it (sort of like whitening a leek or white asparagus). Today there are species which are independently whitened and produce yellowish celery, however, modern green celery is, in fact, mild-tasting.

There are actually three subspecies of the celery, each grown to take advantage of a different part of the plant: The subspecies dulce is celery grown for its crunchy stalks, and is the most refined in flavor. The second, rapaceum, is grown for its root, making its stalks and leaves sharper tasting and more suitable for seasoning. And last comes the secalinum, resembling the wild species and grown in order to produce the strong, spicy-flavored miniscule celery seeds. This variety is also grown for its leaves, which – together with the seeds – are the most nutritious, useful parts of the celery with the greatest amounts of concentrates. Hence their strong flavor.

 

Back when it was a wild plant, celery was sanctified in classical Greece. Celery leaves were used as wreaths for the champions of the Isthmian Games. The Egyptians, too, revered the vegetable, as evident in braided bunches of celery that have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans, however, felt that in certain circumstances, celery can bring bad luck.

And yes, all those beliefs are well-rooted (sorry…..), as this vegetable is indeed a powerful one. It contains phytochemicals (yup, them again) called phthalid which can relax the small blood vessels, reducing the excretion of stress hormones and therefore contributing to the balance of high blood pressure. In addition, celery reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Research shows that celery seeds are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating diabetes. This is probably due to celery’s ethereal oil content, apiol, derived from the seeds and promoting urination, thus relieving edema, disinfecting the urinary system and easing rheumatoid arthritis. Celery also contains a good amount of Vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.

There are those who are allergic to the psoralen contained within celery, which can cause damage to DNA and become carcinogenic if one is exposed to sunshine after consuming the celery. This allergen is probably not diminished by cooking or baking. And though I found contradictory opinions regarding celery consumption during pregnancy– including the Talmud which states that a woman who eats celery during pregnancy will bear beautiful children (Ktuvot 61) – I think it would be more responsible to refrain from eating celery during pregnancy due to its tendency to cause uterine spasms.

I would guess that most of the celery stalks in our world fulfill themselves and their true calling in vegetable soup, and that’s how I used to use it as well… That is, till I moved to a moshav populated by folks of Kurdish origin, where I was exposed to the Riza Hamusta, the sour Kurdish rice. Since then, it has been hard to convince me to save some celery for the soup… But there are so many other uses for it. Celery’s great when fresh and crunchy in a salad or in an invigorating, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! In our recipe section we even have a recipe for celery pesto.

Tips for using celery:
To keep celery fresh (this holds true for any bunch of seasoning herbs):
– Wash and dry completely, or don’t wash at all. Wrap in a cloth towel and place in a plastic bag or sealed container.
– Clean under running water, remove all loose leaves or unattractive stalks, and place in a large vase with lots of cold water. Within a couple of hours, the stalk will look like a beautiful bloom. This way you will be surrounded by freshness, and you’ll remember to use the celery instead of letting it wilt in the fridge.

Wishing us all a great week, with some rays of sun on Wednesday and Thursday for which we give yet additional thanks.
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai, Orin and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/totsoi/New Zealand spinach/kale, daikon/baby radishes, broccoli/peas, scallions/onions/leeks, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/celeriac/parsley root, carrots, parsley/coriander, lettuce/mizuna/arugula, cabbage/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi/fennel, beets/turnips, Jerusalem artichokes/potatoes.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocados, green apples, clementinot

Wednesday: Swiss chard/totsoi/New Zealand spinach/kale, daikon/baby radishes/cabbage, broccoli, scallions/onions/leeks, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery/celeriac, carrots, parsley/coriander, lettuce/mizuna/arugula, potatoes/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi/fennel, beets/turnips, Jerusalem artichokes/peas.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas/lemons, avocados/pomelo, green apples, clementinot.

December 31st 2018 – January 2nd 2019 – What Is Green, Fragrant and Crunchy All Over?

This week we bid farewell to 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms. This year, the transition takes place as rain is wondrously pouring down upon thirsty soil that well recalls its absence over the past winters. We too, working the earth, remember how our hearts sunk as our craving for rain soared.  Now, along with our fields, we take a deep breath and relax as raindrops tap the most beautiful tune in the world on the roof of our packinghouse.

Our winter veggies are having a ball in the good rain, evidenced by their somewhat muddy arrival at your doorstep. For this week’s Newsletter, I will share the great secrets of an enduring winter guest who adores wet weather so much that it actually makes him plump around the edges… Ladies and gents, I’m pleased to introduce the star of the week… celery!

Its name carries the exotic origins of the French “céleri,” derived from the Greek “Selinon,” of the Apiaceae family. Celery is distinguished by the fact that all of this versatile vegetable’s parts are edible: the round root, its crunchy stalk, the nutritious leaves and its teensy, tiny seeds. Today, we will primarily discuss the leaves.

All celery varieties have tiny, miniscule seeds that take their sweet time sprouting. If you ever attempt to seed them in your garden, do not despair! Make sure they are plenty moist and that you have a very long book to read while you wait patiently for some sign of life. Mr. Celery is even slower than his cousin the parsley, taking at least a month till he feels he’s ready to sprout. We cannot wait so long with the seeds under the earth, specifically since ruthless weeds are liable to cover the bed five times before allowing one little celery shoot to peek above earth. This is why we start with actual plants that have already grown in a nursery, at the prime age of two to three months.

And here they are, the young ‘uns in our field (to their left, the red lettuce; to their right, the scallions)

Although celery is a native of the Mediterranean Basin, it has been carried upon the wings of history to reach almost every place on earth. Today the vegetable can be found in Southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California, and even unto the southernmost parts of South America. Celery has a long history as a wild plant, and a relatively short one as a cultivated specie.

Celery is first documented in literature dating back almost 3000 years (making it evident that celery has been around for even longer). It is first noted by its Greek name Selinon in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. Probably the ancient celery was collected from the wild to be raised in private gardens for a variety of medicinal uses (see below), but not for edible consumption. In the Mishnah, Tractate Shvi’it, it is mentioned as a wild plant (and therefore does not require a tithe) “… and the celery in the rivers… exempt from tithe.”

Only in the 17th century did celery begin to be used as a food and spice. It was cultivated by selecting the full and solid plants (not the hollow variety) with a milder, more subtle taste. The celery’s growing season was carefully chosen in order to produce celery leaves and stalks more suitable for consumption, with a less dominant taste. Growing celery during a cold season refines its taste. In the 19th century, the Europeans tried tempering its flavor by shielding the stalks from the sun, thus preventing the development of chlorophyll. To do so, they would mound earth upon the celery, thus whitening it (sort of like whitening a leek or white asparagus). Today there are species which are independently whitened and produce yellowish celery, however, modern green celery is, in fact, mild-tasting.

There are actually three subspecies of the celery, each grown to take advantage of a different part of the plant: The subspecies dulce is celery grown for its crunchy stalks, and is the most refined in flavor. The second, rapaceum, is grown for its root, making its stalks and leaves sharper tasting and more suitable for seasoning. And last comes the secalinum, resembling the wild species and grown in order to produce the strong, spicy-flavored miniscule celery seeds. This variety is also grown for its leaves, which – together with the seeds – are the most nutritious, useful parts of the celery with the greatest amounts of concentrates. Hence their strong flavor.

 

Back when it was a wild plant, celery was sanctified in classical Greece. Celery leaves were used as wreaths for the champions of the Isthmian Games. The Egyptians, too, revered the vegetable, as evident in braided bunches of celery that have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans, however, felt that in certain circumstances, celery can bring bad luck.

And yes, all those beliefs are well-rooted (sorry…..), as this vegetable is indeed a powerful one. It contains phytochemicals (yup, them again) called phthalid  which can relax the small blood vessels, reducing the excretion of stress hormones and therefore contributing to the balance of high blood pressure. In addition, celery reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Research shows that celery seeds are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating diabetes. This is probably due to celery’s ethereal oil content, apiol, derived from the seeds and promoting urination, thus relieving edema, disinfecting the urinary system and easing rheumatoid arthritis. Celery also contains a good amount of Vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.

There are those who are allergic to the psoralen contained within celery, which can cause damage to DNA and become carcinogenic if one is exposed to sunshine after consuming the celery. This allergen is probably not diminished by cooking or baking. And though I found contradictory opinions regarding celery consumption during pregnancy– including the Talmud which states that a woman who eats celery during pregnancy will bear beautiful children (Ktuvot 61) – I think it would be more responsible to refrain from eating celery during pregnancy due to its tendency to cause uterine spasms.

I would guess that most of the celery stalks in our world fulfill themselves and their true calling in vegetable soup, and that’s how I used to use it as well… That is, till I moved to a moshav populated by folks of Kurdish origin, where I was exposed to the Riza Hamusta, the sour Kurdish rice. Since then, it has been hard to convince me to save some celery for the soup… But there are so many other uses for it. Celery’s great when fresh and crunchy in a salad or in an invigorating, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! In our recipe section we even have a recipe for celery pesto.

Tips for using celery:

To keep celery fresh (this holds true for any bunch of seasoning herbs):

– Wash and dry completely, or don’t wash at all. Wrap in a cloth towel and place in a plastic bag or sealed container.

– Clean under running water, remove all loose leaves or unattractive stalks, and place in a large vase with lots of cold water. Within a couple of hours, the stalk will look like a beautiful bloom. This way you will be surrounded by freshness, and you’ll remember to use the celery instead of letting it wilt in the refrigerator.

Wishing us all a great week. With this week forecast to be sunny and rainless, we give yet another thanks.

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai, Orin and the Chubeza team

______________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Celery/celeriac/leeks, lettuce/mizuna/arugula, broccoli, beets/turnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, spinach/Swiss chard, radishes/baby radishes/daikon, kale.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage, coriander/dill/parsley, Jerusalem artichokes/potatoes/snow peas or garden peas.

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, oranges, bananas, strawberries.

Wednesday: Celery/celeriac, lettuce, broccoli, beets, cucumbers, cauliflower/cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, spinach/Swiss chard/kale, radishes/baby radishes//turnips, coriander/dill/parsley.

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichokes/snow peas or garden peas, potatoes, leeks.

FRUIT BOXES:  Avocado, oranges, bananas, apples.

December 4th-6th 2017 – Crunch Goes the Celery

We happily open the month of December with the arrival of Kibbutz Samar’s delectable dates, fresh from the autumn date harvest. Great news for those of you who are already addicted and pining away for these incredible dates! And a great opportunity for those who have not yet discovered these mouthwatering treasures from Kibbutz Samar!

From their magic groves way down south in the Eilot region, Samar grows three amazing types of organic dates. Brahi, round, soft and very sweet, is popular in its fresh form as a yellow date. Samar attempted to dry it whilst on the tree, like they do with the other varieties, and discovered that as a dry fruit Brahi’s flavor and texture are incredibly distinctive. They nicknamed it “the date toffee,” and it is deliciously addictive. We also have Dekel Nur dates – elongated, darker and drier. They are not as sweet, and those of you who’ve adored Iraqi or Yemenite dates will be awash with nostalgia when you sit your teeth into them. Last but not least is the Zahidi – a small, round date, less sweet as the Brahi and very rich in dietary fiber. If you do not possess a sweet tooth, you will love the latter two. They are also excellent for baking and cooking.

The Samar dates can be purchased in 500 gr or 5 kg packages. Add them to your boxes via our order system now!.

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And also – the new kid in the block – now you can add quality fresh spices –  Ground by millstone with no additive, gluten free. “Re-achHhasade” (the fragrance of the field) spices are hand-ground in a boutique factory in Netivot, packed in plastic containers. Kosher Mehadrin by Netivot rabanut. Order them today via our order system.

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“There ought t’be some way t’eat celery so it wouldn’t sound like you wuz steppin’ on a basket.”        

                                                            -Kin Hubbard, The Sayings of Abe Martin

In our continuing Newsletter parade of winter vegetables, this week’s spotlight is on…. celery!

Its name carries the exotic origins of the French “céleri,” derived from the Greek “Selinon,” of the Apiaceae family. Celery is distinguished by the fact that all of this versatile vegetable’s parts are edible: the round root, its crunchy stalk, the nutritious leaves and its teensy, tiny seeds. Today, we will primarily discuss the leaves.

All celery types have tiny, miniscule seeds that take their sweet time sprouting. If you ever attempt to seed them in your garden, do not despair! Make sure they are plenty moist and that you have a very long book to read while you wait patiently for some sign of life. Mr. Celery is even slower than his cousin the parsley, taking at least a month till he feels he’s ready to sprout. We cannot wait so long with the seeds under the earth, specifically since ruthless weeds are liable to cover the bed five times before allowing one little celery shoot to peek above earth. This is why we start with actual plants that have already grown in a nursery, at the prime age of two to three months.

And here they are, the young ‘uns in our field (to their left, the red lettuce; to their right, the scallions)

Although celery is a native of the Mediterranean Basin, it has been carried upon the wings of history to reach almost every place on earth. Today the vegetable can be found in Southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California, and even unto the southernmost parts of South America. Celery has a long history as a wild plant, and a relatively short one as a cultivated specie.

Celery is first documented in literature dating back almost 3000 years (making it evident that celery has been around for even longer). It is first noted by its Greek name Selinon in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. Probably the ancient celery was collected from the wild to be raised in private gardens for a variety of medicinal uses (see below), but not for edible consumption. In the Mishnah, Tractate Shvi’it, it is mentioned as a wild plant (and therefore does not require a tithe) “… and the celery in the rivers… exempt from tithe.”

Only in the 17th century did celery begin to be used as a food and spice. It was cultivated by selecting the full and solid plants (not the hollow variety) with a milder, more subtle taste. The celery’s growing season was carefully chosen in order to produce celery leaves and stalks more suitable for consumption, with a less dominant taste. Growing celery during a cold season refines the taste. In the 19th century, the Europeans tried tempering its flavor by shielding the stalks from the sun, thus preventing the development of chlorophyll. To do so, they would mound earth upon the celery, thus whitening it (sort of like whitening a leek or white asparagus). Today there are species which are independently whitened and produce yellowish celery, but today’s green celery is, in fact, mild-tasting.

There are actually three subspecies of the celery, each grown to take advantage of a different part of the plant: The subspecies dulce is celery grown for its crunchy stalks, and it is the most refined in flavor. The second, rapaceum, is grown for its root, making its stalks and leaves sharper tasting and more suitable for seasoning. And last comes the secalinum, resembling the wild species and grown in order to produce the strong, spicy-flavored miniscule celery seeds. This variety is also grown for its leaves, which – together with the seeds – are the most nutritious, useful parts of the celery with the greatest amounts of concentrates. Hence their strong flavor.

       

Back when it was a wild plant, celery was sanctified in classical Greece. Celery leaves were used as wreaths for the champions of the Isthmian Games. The Egyptians, too, revered the vegetable, as evident in braided bunches of celery that have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans, however, felt that in certain circumstances, celery can bring bad luck.

And yes, all those beliefs are well-rooted (excuse the pun), as this vegetable is indeed a powerful one. It contains phytochemicals (yup, them again) called phthalid  which can relax the small blood vessels, reducing the excretion of stress hormones and therefore contributing to the balance of high blood pressure. In addition, celery reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Research shows that celery seeds are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating diabetes. This is probably due to celery’s ethereal oil content, apiol, which is derived from the seeds and aids in promoting urination, relieving edema, disinfecting the urinary system and easing rheumatoid arthritis. Celery also contains a good amount of Vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.

There are those who are allergic to the psoralen contained within celery, which can cause damage to DNA and become carcinogenic if one is exposed to sunshine after consuming the celery. This allergen is probably not diminished by cooking or baking. And though I found contradictory sayings regarding celery consumption during pregnancy– including the Talmud which states that a woman who eats celery during pregnancy will bear beautiful children (Ktuvot 61) – I think it would be more responsible to refrain from eating celery during pregnancy due to its tendency to cause uterine spasms.

I would guess that most of the celery stalks in our world fulfill themselves and their true calling in vegetable soup, and that’s how I used to use it as well… That is, till I moved to a moshav populated by folks of Kurdish origin, where I was exposed to the Riza Hamusta, the sour Kurdish rice. Since then, it has been hard to convince me to save some celery for the soup…But there are so many other uses for it. Celery’s great when fresh and crunchy in a salad or in an invigorating, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! In our recipe section we even have a recipe for celery pesto.

Tips for using celery:

To keep celery fresh (this holds true for any bunch of seasoning herbs):

– Wash and dry completely, or don’t wash at all. Wrap in a cloth towel and place in a plastic bag or sealed container.

– Clean under running water, remove all loose leaves or unattractive stalks, and place in a large vase with lots of cold water. Within a couple of hours, the stalk will look like a beautiful bloom. This way you will be surrounded by freshness, and you’ll remember to use the celery instead of letting it wilt in the refrigerator.

Wishing us all a wet, refreshing and peaceful week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S CRUNCHY BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, Jerusalem artichoke/eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli/cabbage, red or green bell peppers, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/carrots. Small boxes only: baby radishes/turnips/daikon. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower, celery, beets/fennel, kale.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, Jerusalem artichoke/red bell peppers,  cabbage/eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli/cauliflower/potatoes, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/carrots, beets/fennel. Special gift: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/daikon, celery, kale.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

 

Aley Chubeza #269, November 23rd-25th 2015

Time Flies… The week of November is already nearing its end! At the beginning of next week we will be charging your cards for this month’s purchases and will update your bill on our order system by the end of next week.

You may view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. It’s easy. Simply click the tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed. Please make sure the bill is correct, or let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words  סה”כ לתשלום: 0 (total due: 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. We always have our hands full, and we depend on you to inform us. Our thanks!

Reminder: The billing is two-part: one bill for vegetables & fruits you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is “תוצרת אורגנית”, organic produce). The second part is the bill for delivery and other purchases. (This bill does include VAT. The title of the bill is “delivery and other products.”)

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Crunch Goes the Celery

“There ought t’be some way t’eat celery so it wouldn’t sound like you wuz steppin’ on a basket.”        

                                                            -Kin Hubbard, The Sayings of Abe Martin

We continue our Newsletter parade of winter vegetables, and this week’s spotlight is on…. celery!

Its name carries the exotic origins of the French “céleri,” derived from the Greek “Selinon,” of the Apiaceae family. Celery is distinguished by the fact that all of this versatile vegetable’s parts are edible: the round root, its crunchy stalk,  the nutritious leaves and its teensy, tiny seeds. Today, we will primarily discuss the leaves.

All celery types have tiny, miniscule seeds that take their sweet time sprouting. If you have ever attempted to seed them in your garden, do not despair! Make sure they are plenty moist and that you have a very long book to read while you wait patiently for some sign of life. Mr. Celery is even slower than his cousin the parsley, taking at least a month till he feels he’s ready to sprout. We cannot wait so long with the seeds under the earth, specifically since ruthless weeds are liable to cover the bed five times before allowing one little celery shoot to peek above earth. This is why we start with actual plants that have already grown in a nursery, at the prime age of two to three months.

And here they are, the young ‘uns in our field (to their left, the red lettuce; to their right, the scallions)

Although celery is a native of the Mediterranean Basin, it has been carried upon the wings of history to reach almost every place on earth. Today the vegetable can be found in Southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California, and even unto the southernmost parts of South America. Celery has a long history as a wild plant, and a relatively short one as a cultivated specie.

Celery is first documented in literature dating back almost 3000 years (making it evident that celery has been around for even longer). It is first noted by its Greek name Selinon in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. Probably the ancient celery was collected from the wild to be raised in private gardens for a variety of medicinal uses (see below), but not for edible consumption. In the Mishnah, Tractate Shvi’it, it is mentioned as a wild plant (and therefore does not require a tithe) “… and the celery in the rivers… exempt from tithe.”

Only in the 17th century did celery begin to be used as a food and spice. It was cultivated by selecting the full and solid plants (not the hollow variety) with a milder, more subtle taste. The celery’s growing season was carefully chosen in order to produce celery leaves and stalks more suitable for consumption, with a less dominant taste. Growing celery during a cold season refines the taste. In the 19th century, the Europeans tried tempering its flavor by shielding the stalks from the sun, thus preventing the development of chlorophyll. To do so, they would mound earth upon the celery, thus whitening it (sort of like whitening a leek or white asparagus). Today there are species which are independently whitened and produce yellowish celery, but today’s green celery is, in fact, mild-tasting.

There are actually three subspecies of the celery, each grown to take advantage of a different part of the plant: The subspecies dulce is celery grown for its crunchy stalks, and it is the most refined in flavor. The second, rapaceum, is grown for its root, making its stalks and leaves sharper tasting and more suitable for seasoning. And last comes the secalinum, resembling the wild species and grown in order to produce the strong, spicy-flavored miniscule celery seeds. This variety is also grown for its leaves, which – together with the seeds – are the most nutritious, useful parts of the celery with the greatest amounts of concentrates. Hence their strong flavor.

    

Back when it was a wild plant, celery was sanctified in classical Greece. Celery leaves were used as wreaths for the champions of the Isthmian Games. The Egyptians, too, revered the vegetable, as evident in braided bunches of celery that have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans, however, felt that in certain circumstances, celery can bring bad luck.

And yes, all those beliefs are well-rooted (excuse the pun), as this vegetable is indeed a powerful one. It contains phytochemicals (yup, them again) named phthalid,  which can relax the small blood vessels, reducing the excretion of stress hormones and therefore contributing to the balance of high blood pressure. In addition, celery reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Research shows that celery seeds are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating diabetes. This is probably due to celery’s ethereal oil content, apiol, which is derived from the seeds and aids in promoting urination, relieving edema, disinfecting the urinary system and easing rheumatoid arthritis. Celery also contains a good quantity of Vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.

There are those who are allergic to the psoralen contained within celery, which can cause damage to DNA and become carcinogenic if one is exposed to sunshine after consuming the celery. This allergen is probably not diminished by cooking or baking. And though I found contradictory sayings regarding celery consumption during pregnancy– including the Talmud which states that a woman who eats celery during pregnancy will bear beautiful children (Ktuvot 61) – I think it would be more responsible to stress the recommendation to refrain from eating celery during pregnancy due to its tendency to cause uterine spasms.

I would guess that most of the celery stalks in our world fulfill themselves and their true calling in vegetable soup, and that’s how I used to use it as well… That is, till I moved to a moshav populated by folks of Kurdish origin, where I was exposed to the Riza Hamusta, the sour Kurdish rice. Since then, it has been hard to convince me to save some celery for the soup… but there are so many other uses for it. It’s great fresh and crunchy in a salad or in an invigorating, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! In our recipe section we even have a recipe for celery pesto.

Tips for using celery:

To keep celery fresh (this holds true for any bunch of seasoning herbs):

–       Wash and dry completely, or don’t wash at all. Wrap in a cloth towel and place in a plastic bag or sealed container.

–       Clean under running water, remove all loose leaves or unattractive stalks, and place in a large vase with lots of cold water. Within a couple of hours, the stalk will look like a beautiful bloom. This way you will be surrounded by freshness, and you’ll remember to use the celery instead of letting it wilt in the refrigerator.

Wishing us all a wet, refreshing and peaceful week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

______________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce/Chinese cabbage, coriander/parsley, mizuna/arugula/totsoi, kohlrabi/fennel, tomatoes/red bell peppers, Swiss chard/kale, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, slice of pumpkin/ eggplant/ Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, celery.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/white turnips, beets, Turkish spinach.

Wednesday: sweet potatoes, cucumbers, cilantro/parsley, Swiss chard/kale/spinach, tomatoes, kohlrabi/fennel, broccoli/eggplants/pumpkin, Chinese cabbage/lettuce, potatoes, carrots, small boxes only: beets.

Large box, in addition: Daikon/white turnips, celery, Jerusalem artichoke, arugula/mizuna/tatsoi.

 

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products and goat dairy products too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. Our order system also features a detailed listing of the products and their cost.  Make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #224, November 24th-26th 2014

A new month!

The month of Kislev has begun, as the month of November comes to its end. At the end of this week, we will bill your cards for your November produce and endeavor to update the payment by the beginning of next week.

You may view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. Now it’s easy! Simply click the new tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed.

Please make sure the bill is correct, and let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words סה”כ לתשלום 0  (total due: 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. Our thanks!

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Crunch Goes the Celery

“There ought t’be some way t’eat celery so it wouldn’t sound like you wuz steppin’ on a basket.”        

             -Kin Hubbard, The Sayings of Abe Martin

Under the procession of raindrops, we continue our Newsletter parade of winter vegetables, and this week’s spotlight is on…… celery!

Its name carries the exotic origins of the French “céleri,” derived from the Greek “Selinon,” of the Apiaceae family. Celery is distinguished by the fact that all of this versatile vegetable’s parts are edible: the round root, its crunchy stems, the nutritious leaves and its teensy, tiny seeds. Today, we will primarily discuss the leaves.

All celery types have tiny, miniscule seeds that take their sweet time sprouting. If you have ever attempted to seed them in your garden, do not despair! Make sure they are plenty moist and that you have a very long book to read while you wait patiently for some sign of life. Mr. Celery is even slower than his cousin the parsley, taking at least a month till he feels he’s ready to sprout. We cannot wait so long with the seeds under the earth, specifically since ruthless weeds are liable to cover the bed five times before allowing one little celery shoot to peek above earth. This is why we start with actual plants that have already grown in a nursery, at the prime age of two to three months.

And here they are, the young ‘uns in our field (to their left, the red lettuce, to their right- scallions)

Although celery is a native of the Mediterranean Basin, it has been carried upon the wings of history to reach almost every place on earth. Today the vegetable can be found in Southern Sweden, the British Isles, Egypt, Algeria, India, China, New Zealand, California and even unto the southernmost parts of South America. Celery has a long history as a wild plant, and a relatively short one as a cultivated variety.

Celery is first documented in literature dating back almost 3000 years (making it evident that celery has been around for even longer). It is first noted by its Greek name Selinon in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 850 BC. Probably the ancient celery was collected from the wild to be raised in private gardens for a variety of medicinal uses (see below), but not for edible consumption. In the Mishnah, in Shvi’it, it is mentioned as a wild plant (and therefore does not require a tithe) “… and the celery in the rivers… exempt from tithe.”

It was only in the 17th century that celery began to be used as a food and spice. It was cultivated by selecting the full and solid plants (not the hollow variety) with a milder, more subtle taste. Its growing season was carefully chosen in order to produce celery leaves and stalks more suitable for consumption, with a less dominant taste. Growing celery during a cold season refines the taste. In the 19th century, the Europeans tried tempering its taste by shielding the stalks from the sun, thus preventing the development of chlorophyll. To do so, they would mound earth upon on the celery, thus whitening it (sort of like whitening a leek or white asparagus). Today there are species which are independently whitened and produce yellowish celery, but even today’s green celery is mild-tasting.

There are, in fact, three subspecies of the celery, each grown to take advantage of a different part of the plant:

The subspecies dulce is celery grown for its crunchy stalks, and it is the most refined in flavor. The second, rapaceum, is grown for its root, making its stalks and leaves sharper tasting. And last comes the secalinum, resembling the wild species and grown in order to produce the miniscule celery seeds which are extremely spicy and strong in taste. This variety is also grown for its leaves, which – together with the seeds – are the most nutritious, useful parts of the celery with the greatest amounts of concentrates. Hence their strong flavor.

 

Back when it was a wild plant, celery was sanctified in classical Greece. Celery leaves were used as garlands for the dead, and wreaths for the champions of the Isthmian Games. The Romans, however, felt that in certain circumstances, celery can bring bad luck.

And yes, all those beliefs are well-rooted (excuse the pun), as this vegetable is indeed a powerful one. It contains phytochemicals (yup, them again) named phthalid,  which can relax the small blood vessels, reducing the excretion of stress hormones and therefore contributing to the balance of high blood pressure. In addition, it reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. Research shows that celery seeds are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating diabetes. This is probably due to celery’s ethereal oil content, apiol, which is derived from the seeds and aids in promoting urination, relieving edema, disinfecting the urinary system and easing rheumatoid arthritis.

And though I found contradictory sayings regarding celery consumption during pregnancy– including the Talmud which states that a woman who eats celery during pregnancy will bear beautiful children (Ktuvot 61) – I think it would be more responsible to stress the recommendation to refrain from eating celery during pregnancy due to its tendency to cause uterine spasms.

Digesting celery is thought to expend more calories than the vegetable actually contains, which, in effect, makes celery a thinning food. (My thanks to veteran client Maya for this interesting information.) Aside from its lack of calories, celery contains a good quantity of vitamin K, folic acid and potassium. There are those who are allergic to the psoralen contained within celery, which can cause damage to DNA and become carcinogenic if one is exposed to sunshine after consuming the celery. This allergen is probably not diminished by cooking or baking.

I would guess that most of the celery stalks in our world fulfill themselves and their true calling in vegetable soup, and that’s how I used to use it as well… That is, till I moved to a moshav populated by folks of Kurdish origin, where I was exposed to the Riza Hamusta, the sour Kurdish rice. Since then, it has been hard to convince me to save some celery for the soup… but there are so many other uses for it. It’s great fresh and crunchy in a salad or in an invigorating, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! In our recipe section we even have a recipe for celery pesto.

Tips for using celery:

To keep celery fresh (this holds true for any bunch of seasoning herbs):

–       Wash and dry completely, or don’t wash at all. Wrap in a cloth towel and place in a plastic bag or sealed container.

Or:

–       Clean under running water, remove all loose leaves or unattractive stalks, and place in a large vase with lots of cold water. Within a couple of hours, the stalk will look like a beautiful bloom. This way you will be surrounded by freshness, and you’ll remember to use the celery instead of letting it wilt in the refrigerator.

Wishing us all a wet, refreshing week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Maya, Dror and the Chubeza team

_______________________________________________

WHAT’S JOINING THE CELERY IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Pumpkin/sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, curly lettuce, tomatoes, leeks, parsley/dill/coriander, cucumbers, cabbage/broccoli, Swiss chard/totsoi/spinach. Small boxes only: Daikon/turnips, fennel/corn/eggplant

Large box, in addition: Celery, beets, beans/lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, carrots, arugula/mizuna

Wednesday: cilantro/dill/parsley, spinach/Swiss chard, cucumbers, curley leaf lettuce/arugula, tomatoes, broccoli/cabbage, kohlrabi/fennel, carrots/sweet potatoes, leek, slice of pumpkin, small boxes only: daikon/turnip.

Large box, in addition: Celery, beets, beans/lubia/Jerusalem artichoke, kale/tatsoi

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Recipes:

celery pesto

Green Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette

Thai Celery Salad with Peanuts

Homemade Cream of Celery Soup