With great flavour and great crunch it’s no wonder celery’s a great British vegetable that’s at its summer peak from mid-June onwards. A bushy, mounded plant that grows wild in Europe. It needs deep, fertile soil which is moist at all times and requires a long growing season with cool nights. The rich Fen soils of East Anglia are ideally suited for growing celery, which needs plenty of water and sunshine to grow into top tasting plants with a superior crunch. G’s are the largest celery producer in Europe, growing a total of 1,000 ha, with 60 years of experience in growing this challenging crop to the highest standards.
In commercial production, plants are started in greenhouses then transplanted to the field when they are about 4-6 inches tall, which gets them off to a better start. Celery planting starts at the end of February in England; harvesting (depending on the weather) starts in early June and finishes in early November. At its quickest growing rate celery takes 11 weeks from planting to harvest.
Celery is all harvested by hand in the open field using a special shaped knife – cutting by machine doesn’t give the same quality. G’s celery is cut, selected and packed in the field on purpose-built mobile packhouses called ‘rigs’.
You will find three main types of celery product for sale:
1. Whole head – coarse outer stalks and leaf tops removed. Use the outer stems for cooking and the more tender, inner stalks for eating raw.
2. Hearts – more of the outer stalks have been removed, so there is less waste.
3. Sticks – usually sold as ready to eat, which means they have been washed and packed under factory conditions.
Like all fresh produce celery is best eaten as fresh as possible, but should last for 1-2 weeks in the fridge depending on the time of year (longer in summer).
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