DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

11 April 2012

My name is Fiona and I lay blue eggs.

My name is Fiona and I lay blue eggs.


Our Araucana, Fiona, starting laying her delicate pale blue eggs two days ago. She's been such a crazy and interesting chicken so far. When she first came to us from Julie Thompson's wonderful chicken hatchery in Brisbane, she was with her sister, Margaret. Margaret was killed a couple of weeks ago. :- (  We found her in the middle of the day, under a palm tree with all the feathers on her neck stripped off, she was as dead as a door nail. Before that, Fiona was always a very shy and flighty chook, now she's moved up in the pecking order and always makes sure she gets her fair share of any extra food treats thrown her way. 


Fiona is  a lavender Araucana, she has a small comb hidden under her feathers and no wattles, she lays blue eggs and from what I've seen with ours, Araucanas like to fly. We have found Fiona in our vegetable patch quite a few times, but it's not a great problem, when we chase her, she flies out again. As you can see in the photo above, Fiona's eggs are small at the moment, but soon they get bigger. When cracked open, the eggs look the same as any other hen's egg.

If you're looking for some unusual chickens, I recommend the Aracanas to you. If you're looking for somewhere to buy them, check out Julie's ad on my side bar. Her chickens are the healthiest we've even bought, they'll be vaccinated and guaranteed females.

STORING AND USING CELERY TOPS
One of the ladies at the forum asked about using the tops of celery yesterday. I had taken these photos a few days ago and told her I'd write this today. Celery tops have as much nutritional value as the stalks but unless you have a consistent strategy, you might not use them. I always buy a full head of celery. Buying half a head increases the price and I refuse to buy anything that has already been cut up and washed, so a bag of celery pieces is completely out of the question. But how can you keep a full head of celery fresh and crisp for a long time when you only use about two stalks a week? This is what I do.

Wash the celery under the tap and shake off the water. Then cut off the top and lay it on top of the stalks. 

Wrap the celery head and tops in aluminium foil so that it is completely covered and sealed in. If you don't want your food touching aluminium, cover it first with a sheet of baking or greaseproof paper.

Store it in the fridge until you need it and wrap it up again when you've finished. Storing celery like this will keep it fresh and crisp for six to eight weeks. Even at the end of the eight weeks, the celery will be as crisp as the first day you bought it. No more limp celery.


You can see some of those celery tops above in my leftovers curry we had the other night. I use the leaves more like a herb than a vegetable. You can use them instead of parsley or chives in almost any recipe. They will also make up a delicious pesto, replacing basil leaves with celery leaves. Any stew or soup will be improved with the addition of celery, including the leaves. So don't cut them off and throw them away, if you keep the cut tops in the aluminium parcel with the celery stalks, they be ready to use whenever you need them.

 What do you do with your celery leaves?

52 comments:

  1. I chop celery leaves into soup. Or toss whole into a stew for flavor. Or shove a bunch of them into the cavity of a chicken for roasting. Or use them whole to flavor stock. And a few end up in the compost because they got lost in the crisper.

    brenda from ar

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  2. Euhh.. nothing.. It's the only thing I don't like at all.. ;o)

    Love the cheeky chicken!

    Love from Holland

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  3. The blue eggs are so pretty!
    I use celery tops in soups and stir fries. I think (any part of) celery is the secret to good soup. The tops are also my rabbit's favourite treat. On the other end, have you heard of cutting off the bottom 3" of the celery and replanting it? I've not been able to try it yet but I've heard from others that it can grow new roots and new stalks will grow. I'm going to try it when the timing is right this summer (northern hemisphere).

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  4. My husband does not like celery. So when I make chicken salad, I use the leaves instead of the stalks. The leaves give the salad the subtle taste of celery without the sliced stalks which my husband finds so offensive!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

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  5. g'day
    sorry, but i don't eat celery either!
    interesting to see what people do with it though

    cute chook too, am more partial to the bigger poultry though, at the moment am getting freebies from a friend with too many chooks & they are xbreds so not so big

    have a wonderful day!
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  6. Dear Rhonda, love your post on celery today. I liked to buy the whole head of celery and as there is just me eating it I will find this information very useful. I usually use the celery tops for adding to the pot when I'm making stock. Jean.
    PS. When I try to leave a comment using my WordPress blog address it doesn't go through. If I use Anonymous it will. Not sure how to fix that. Best wishes. Jean

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  7. We grow our own celery and so we are able to harvest just what we need for our meal. A few years ago we had a beautiful Tibetan woman visit our farm and in India where she now lives, the celery is grown only for the leaves. Ever since then we have used the whole of the celery when we cook.

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  8. I love the blue eggs. I'm looking after a freind's hens this week, and every egg is a differnt colour - beautiful!

    I had no idea you could use celery tops (how ignorant am I!) but will be using them up from now on - thank you for sharing the ideas.

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  9. Thank You Rhonda and all the other ladies for these ideas.... no more celery tops will be going to waste in this house xx

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  10. Even if the celery does go limp, don't throw it away. Consider keeping a freezer bag with celery bits and leaves, carrot peels and ends, onion ends and skins, parsley stems, etc. As you cook and have bits and pieces, just add them to the bag. In no time you'll have a nice veggie variety for homemade, nutritious, delicious stock.

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  11. Love to Fiona. I lost my last two aracuanas to the returning fox recently and can't bring myself to hop back on the horse (so to speak). Ours came from a 90 year old farmer down the road we befriended. He and his wife are both gone now and I really miss them and the girls. Jack always said 'remember they come from south american forests and are suited to running and flying fast!I grow lovage for the celery leaf taste, great in everything.

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  12. I save my celery tops, veggie ends and then dehydrate them and then run the lot through my food processor to make a veggie powder to put in almost anything. You can add herbs, and other dried veggies to make wonderful broth. Keep in the freezer in a canning jar.
    Love the blue eggs.

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  13. Or you could buy a Tuppaware FridgeSmart, put a fresh tea towel in the bottom of it and store your celery and other salad stuff in it. Tuppaware has a lifetime guarantee so you're buying quality, even if it is plastic. My grandmother still has her original version and every lunch it is set on the table full of leftover tomato, capsicum, spring onions, celery, cucumber. Yum Yum. We've done away with aluminium foil, glad wrap and baking paper at home, although I still use freezer bags for storing meat.

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  14. Yes! Yes! I use all the celery leaves, I think they actually have more flavour than the celery stalks so they get cut up into all my soups and even thrown into my salads....
    Sometimes we use a small top stalk to make celery people with the kids to eat. We spread a small top stalk with cream cheese, or peanut butter, add a sultana face and the leaves become the hair... :) (Don't really think the leaves get eaten this way but it's a fun activity and way to get the kids munching on some of the celery at least!)

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  15. Fiona is a pretty chicken. I want to get one for my flock of girls. I have a question for you. I have two chickens who were raised together. One (or maybe even both) are laying consistantly. I wanted to have more chickens and so bought two more chicks from my local feed and fuel store. When the second two were old enough to go outside with the others, I put them out there and the first two chickens starting picking on them. Unfortuately, they ended up killing one of the second two. Now I am afraid to let the lone younger chicken out with them. I do put her out in the daytime, wth her in the cicken yard and the other two outside of it. Will I ever be able to put the single chicken in with the other two?

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  16. Love Fiona....How adorable is she? The blue eggs are devine.
    Celey leaves...never realy ate them but will do from now on. I guess I always mindlessly chopped them off...Silly me!

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  17. Rhonda, wanted to let you know there was an article in the Sunday life of the age on Easter Sunday about simple living inspired by your book. I can't find it online to link to but if you want a copy I can scan it and email it too you.

    By the way I love Fiona. The eggs are so sweet

    Shirley

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  18. The base of the celery can be planted in the ground and will region new stalks and leaves. Keep moist as celery is actually a bog plant.

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  19. My Pea and Ham Soup recipe uses only the celery top leaves. I blogged about keeping celery fresh and also regrowing the root end in January this year. There are photos of the celery regrowing too.
    http://monarch--place.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/re-growing-celery.html

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  20. I use celery tops while making chicken broth, and as a substitute for herbs as you said! It's also great in chili. I pretty much just add some of the chopped up leaves in anything I'm already using the stalks in :)
    -Jaime
    P.S. I also have a flying, escape artist Aracauna. Luckily, none of the others follow her, so she's easy to herd back :)

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  21. Claudia, it's difficult to say without me seeing what's happening. Pecking order is a normal chook behaviour. They generally sort it out themselves and everyone's happy. The only time you remove a chicken is if they draw blood. Leaving them in with a flock, will generally result in serious injury or death once blood is involved. If it were me, I'd buy larger chickens. It sounds like yours are in their first year so if you buy one year olds or pullets, they should have their scrabbles sorting out who is top hen, but after that they should all get along.

    Can you spend time with them with the chick in the same pen as the larger ones? If there's a problem, you can take her out. Chickens are flock creatures, they shouldn't live alone. If you can get her in with the other two, she'll be much happier.

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  22. Jots mum, thank you. Penguin sent me a copy of it. I don't think the writer really understood what we're all about, but I take the bad with the good.

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  23. I can't waste food so I throw the clelery tops into our daily green smoothie. The blender liquifies them along with everything else I include - carrots, ground flax seed, banana, kale, spinach, kefir or yogurt, etc. - whatever you want to add.

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  24. Fiona lays such pretty eggs! Do all Araucanas lay blue eggs? Or is it an individual thing?

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  25. Hello Rhonda

    We grow our own celery so every bit is precious! I always use the leaves in soup or stir-fry or whatever. If I do not need the tops for anything I put them in the oven on an oven tray. I have a wood-burning stove so it heats up a bit even when I am only using the hotplates and retains its heat for quite a while. The next day they are dry and crisp and I buzz them in the food processor, add a bit of rock salt and I have celery salt to add to soups and stews. You can of course just have the powder for flavouring food without the salt.
    Never throw anything out!!!
    All the best

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  26. When I was growing up, my mother told me that the celery leaves were poisonous and must be cut off and thrown away. Even though I now know that is not true, I still have never eaten them. Plus I have alway suffered from droopy celery syndrome, but thanks to your post I can now buy celery again without the guilt that I will thow most of it out.

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  27. Hello Rhonda,
    I too dry my celery leaves in the oven then blitz them and store. I originally got the idea from the chocolate and zucchini blog. The blog has some similar good ideas under condiments tag.
    How is Sharon? I hope it goes well for her. Thanks Rhonda for holding the light.

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  28. What pretty blue eggs! She is a pretty chicken. And I'm definitely using that celery top suggestion.

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  29. Love the eggs and the comments on using the celery tops. I usually use the tops for stock or the compost, but never thought of drying them out for use later -- great idea. I have my niece living with us now and I often find limp celery as she doesn't wrap it up completely in the bag! I still put the limp stalks into soup for their flavour.

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  30. i also have blue eggs, but they are from my beautiful Indian Runner Duck Mickey, she first started laying for me on Feb 1st

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  31. I am in LOVE with your chicken. How lucky are you!!??
    Thank you so much for he celery tip. I always buy a couple of expensive single stalks as they go limp and yucky pretty quick. I am going to give this a go. Thanks again.

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  32. Wrap any vegetables in newspaper (I use the free regional weekly), store them in the (drawer) down in the fridge and they'll stay fresh for a very long time.

    Celery is a basic ingredient in our national and worldfamous 'Snert'= 'Erwtensoep'= Pea Soup.

    Cheers!

    Jeanneke, Dokkum, The Netherlands.

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  33. I use the celery tops the same way I use the rest of the celery, most of the time. They don't work for dipping of peanut butter, but are great in salads and pretty much anywhere I used chopped celery. I cut off only the leaves that have have gotten old, raggedy and brown. Another way I have stored celery in the past, is in a glass with a bit of water in the bottom -- rather like a bouquet of celery. It works well if your refrigerator isn't crowded or doesn't have people rummaging through it carelessly -- or for short periods if you have no room in your refrigerator.

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  34. I have an Araucana just like yours called Lavender. :-)

    I just slice and use whatever bit of the celery I'm at, leaves and all, unless it's for celery sticks/ants on a log, in which case I save the leaves for whenever I'm next cooking something they can go in (pasta sauce- they're great in tomato-ey sauces,stew or casserole,anything thing made from mince like ragu or cottage pie, etc).

    I always have chopped or grated the very end of the celery to use it all up, but I read the other day that if you sink the bottom section in the soil, it will regrow. I think it will be mostly leafy growth, so perhaps no free crudites, but I'm going to give it a go.

    http://chickensintheroad.com/farm-bell-recipes/re-growing-celery/

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  35. Just as an addition, I've read that if the root end of celery is planted, it will grow again, so no more buying celery.

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  36. This is more a response to the laundry liquid post. I finally got my act together to go hunting for the ingrediants, while you may not care to know how many shops I visited to find ordinary washing soda you won't believe what I did find, it even confounded me.

    A bag fill of individual sachets of laundry liquid. Are we so lazy now that we can't be bothered do what I usually do and just use the cap of a laudry liquid bottle as a measuring device?

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  37. I also put celery tops in my soup. I actually have a pot of chicken soup on the stove top with celery tops added. This broth is to combat a cold I came down with today. I also like them in salads as well.

    I've picked up some great ideas reading the comments. I think I'll plant a celery botton to see if it grows. Also, what a great idea to dehydrate the tops and use as a veggie powder. Thanks ladies for the great ideas.

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  38. Wow I am amazed by Fiona, because we have a chook who produces blue eggs just likes hers, but she is a black feathered chook. They are sisters!
    So lovely:) Jane

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  39. I shared your celery tip with my mom last year after trying it myself. She lives alone and cooks one time a year--Christmas! Well, she was able to buy her celery a few weeks early when it was on sale and was amazed that it was still crisp and perfect for her appetizer tray! As usual, I took the leftover pieces home to chop up and freeze, ready for any soups or stews. And now I won't have to feed the tops to the disposal!

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  40. Such beautiful blue eggs! What a lucky girl being rescued by you. I'm sure Fiona will have a happy life at your home.
    We grow our celery, but always use the tops finely chopped through salads, sometimes in place of parsley and always when I sauté onions for soups, stews and sauces.
    Thank you for your steady advice and inspiring blog. You have really been a positive influence in our lives.
    Yasmin, Phil and Ava

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  41. We grow our own celery too...more leaf than anything..we dehydrate it and have it on hand year-round for soups, sauces, stews, etc. home-grown celery tastes so different from store-bought : ).

    Anne

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  42. Why have i never used the celery tops? I definately will now thanks to your post and all the previous posters comments....can't believe i never used them and as we have a crop in the vegie garden right now i look forward to getting a little more creative! Never knew you could store them that long either...thanks so much Rhonda!!!
    Love those blue eggs and the little character chook!

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  43. Awwww, Rhonda. My kids think that your lovely chook is a beauty. Lots of oohs and aahs here. Guess what? We called Julie a few weeks ago about getting some chickens. We intend to carry this through this week. This is most exciting. To top it off, Julie's hatchery is in the very same suburb in which we live. She certainly knows our road, etc. I will enquire about getting a little chicken to lay blue eggs now. Best, Tracy (Brisbane)

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  44. When I buy celery I cut off the tops, chop and freeze for soups. For fresh, I take a very thin slice off the bottom of the cluster (to allow good water uptake) then just pop the whole cluster into a recycled 1/2 gal milk carton. I wrap the top with plastic (to keep the water from evaporating) then put it in the 'fridge. Celery is alive, like lettuce, etc and will stay crisp and crunchy for weeks. I don't know how long they would last, I always eat them up within a month.

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  45. Marylnail@bellsouth.netyApril 12, 2012 12:56 am

    I will try your celery hint! Just last night, I cut up some "limp" celery, and wondered if it still had any nutritional value!

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  46. I use celery tops in soup and stews and stir fries. I also grow the perennial herb lovage (in Austria they call it something like "maggi kraut" which has leaves that are a bit stronger than celery but essentially the same flavor. I like perennial herbs! Another one I like is European Sweet Cecily which has an anise or liquorice flavor. The tiny leaves look like fern fronds and I have used them to decorate wedding cakes and the seeds can be macerated with a good vodka to make a liquor a bit like kummel.

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  47. We have always eaten the leaves as well as the stalks here. The celery we grow locally never gets fat stalks anyway so whatever we get we use.
    I usually cut as I need from the garden.
    I love the ideas for storage and regrowth! I am thinking it may even help the plant. A bit like pruning does.
    I also grow chives and occasionally cut the full head off just leaving the bulbs still planted. It is amazing how rapidly they regrow.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. the cut off chives I put in a blender with garlic cloves, pimento peppers, salt and pepper, thyme, ginger and just enough vinegar to allow the mix to blend (you can add other herbs if you desire). Give this a whizz and store in a glass jar with a lid in your fridge. This will last for a long time and will retain much of its flavour (do not be put off by the change in colour to a browner hue). This is what we use to marinate our meats and give that distinctive Caribbean taste. We call it 'green seasoning'.

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  48. The blue eggs look so interesting! We want to get chooks -- wait, let me say that agin -- I want to get chooks, but the thing is, we want to have them in more of a yard than a cage. Naturally we'd have a fully enclosed house for them to slepp in, but during the day I'd like them to have the run of the yard, pretty much, and my conscern is cats. I do not want to put a roof on my yard (lol!) but if we make them a cage its gonna be pretty small. My three pussies are not the consern by the way, its the ferral beggars that roam around beyond our place. Do you have any advice for us/me?

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  49. Thank you Rhonda....I've always wondered what to do with the tops of celery and whether to use them or not!! This has informed me and now I can buy a whole celery as well without it going limp in a matter of days!!

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  50. We just got our first blue eggs too! Except our Ameracauna, Vivian, came to us in October, and hasn't laid a single egg since! She's almost three years old now, so it took her a long time to get back on the lay, apparently. After almost five months, she laid a giant double-yolker today!

    batchworthlane.blogspot.com

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  51. I definitely will look into Aracanas, I love the color of the eggs.

    If your celery should get floppy, cut the bottoms like you would a flower and put in ice water. After a bit they will be as crisp as before.

    Hugs!
    Cat

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  52. Margaret in TasmaniaJune 07, 2012 9:42 pm

    Hi there everyone, I too use all of the celery,some in stir fries,some in soup and we also juice some in the morning with apple, carrot, fresh ginger and beetroot. So useful and relatively cheap and so good for you too.

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