At the end of last week, we billed your cards for your December produce (including Monday, December 31). Please note the following:
– Changes made after Saturday night will be balanced next month.
– Note that the month of December had five Mondays and four Wednesdays.
– We would like to remind you that you are now able to 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!
An Egg-stra Change: Sadly, we must bid farewell the organic eggs of the Bendtovich Farm. Despite everyone’s good will, too many eggs were broken in delivery. Thank you, Eldad and Orit, for the efforts you made to bring us the eggs. Those who wish to continue to purchase from the Bendtovich Farm may contact them for details on the nearest locations where their eggs may be purchased.
Tene Yarok olive oil is returning to its original pricelist. A 0.750 liter bottle will cost 40-45 NIS, a 2 liter can costs 95 NIS and a 4 liter can is 180 NIS.
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! First, the etymology: “celery” is derived from the French “céleri,” which is derived from the Greek “Selinon,” or “Apium graveolens” (the Greek word for the vegetable), of the Apiaceae family. 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.
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 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 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 stronger tasting. And last is 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 vessel muscles, 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, but there are so many other uses. It’s great fresh and alive in a salad or in a refreshing, cleansing vegetable juice. Be creative! This week I even included a recipe for celery pesto.
Tips for using celery:
To keep celery fresh (this is 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 refreshed week, renewed and green, a happy 2013 and nice winter days,
Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S JOINING THE CELERY IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Lettuce, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, Swiss chard/ spinach, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, kohlrabi/turnips, parsley/coriander, leeks (small boxes only)
In the large box, in addition: Cauliflower or Jerusalem artichoke, arugula, daikon, scallions
Wednesday: broccoli, kohlrabi, potatoes, cilantro / dill / parsley, cucumbers, lettuce / arugula, kale, carrots, tomatoes. leeks-small boxes only, beets-small boxes only.
In the large box, in addition: garlic chive, radishes, cabbage or cauliflower, parsley root, celery
And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil and bakery products 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!