Chinese white celery (Kintsai)
This lovely Chinese white celery was a wild card for me, but it turned out to be well worth the risk. The tender white stalks are absolutely delicious.
I decided to grow a new variety of celery called Chinese white celery from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in the US. This surprisingly vibrant and delicious vegetable is something completely out of the ordinary for me, and I look forward to growing it again and again.
Tender white stalks
This particular variety of celery is grown for the stalks. So, it doesn't actually produce a large root, like celeriac. The majority of celery varieties you can buy here in Sweden need to go pale in order for the stalks to grow nice and tender. Or, they produce green or red stalks that are quite thick and sturdy. The stalks turn out great some years, but I sometimes feel like I could just as well use the celeriac stalks instead.
This all changed when I found this particular variety though. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds describe it like this:
A delicate and delicious Chinese variety with snow-white stalks. White celery has been cultivated in the Chinese town of Liyang for over 800 years. Stems are long, slender and hollow, with strong celery flavor, ideal for Asian soups and stews, but equally suitable for mirepoix and other recipes calling for celery.
Beautiful white stalks
The picture shows one single plant of the white Chinese celery. It was so large! I think it weighed around 4.5 pounds (ca. 2 kg) actually. The plant consists of one main, large bundle of celery as well as several side shoots that grow along the main stalk.
The stalks are completely white. All of them. Hollow, tender and absolutely delicious. I decided to ferment the entire plant actually, and it turned out great!
How to grow Chinese white celery
- sow early in the year
- don't cover the seeds with soil, simply press down on the seeds
- re-plant once in spring
- plant them outside in May
- use mulch as fertilizer
Stalk celery is the perfect ingredient in stews and soups. I often use it for stock and vegetable salts too. If you really like celery, you might also be interested in putting them into smoothies or making celery juice. Or why not add a few fresh stalks for your salads? My best tip is actually to put celery stalks in fish stew. It's so good! You can freeze your celery too if you happen to grow a bit too much. Cut in smaller pieces and freeze raw.