Kids Club Vol. 36: Celery
Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!
This month is all about celery. Celery! You might not think about it that much. Maybe only a few people would call it their favorite vegetable. But we really rely on it! Chopped up, for crunch and flavor, in tuna and egg salad; cut into sticks for easy, juicy snacking; and sautéed with onions and carrots as the basis for so many of the soups and stews we make. We even sliver up the leaves to use as a seasoning! In this newsletter you’ll find recipes, activities, and even a science experiment—plus some fun facts that might surprise you about this ordinary, extraordinary vegetable.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Green Tuna Salad
Green Tuna Salad
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Strainer or colander
- Can opener
- Medium-sized bowl
- Large spoon
- 1 (5-ounce) can tuna (any kind you like)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 English cucumber (the long, thin kind wrapped in plastic), diced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced (if you're eating it right away)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or mint leaves, chopped (if you like)
- 2 scallions, roots trimmed off, green and white parts chopped, or 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- To drain the tuna: Set the strainer in the sink, then open the can and use the fork to empty the tuna into the strainer. Press down on the tuna with the fork to squeeze out the liquid. Allow it to drain away.
- Transfer the drained tuna to the bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well. Taste the tuna. Does it need more lime juice or a pinch of salt? If it does, add it and taste again. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
How to cut up carrot and celery sticks
If you keep carrots and celery already cut up and ready to go in the refrigerator, you will always have a good snacking option! Eat them alone or dip into your favorite hummus, salad dressing, peanut butter, or guacamole.
- Scrub or peel several carrots and scrub several celery stalks.
- Trim off the ends and cut each carrot and celery stalk in half lengthwise, then cut each of these halves lengthwise into quarters.
- Now cut them into your favorite length for dipping.
- Put the cut pieces in a lidded jar or container, fill it with cold water, and refrigerate up to 1 week.
Crunchy Celery Sticks
Crunchy Celery Sticks
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring spoons
- 2 celery stalks, washed and peeled with a peeler
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
- 2 teaspoons granola
- Put the celery stalks on the plate. Using the spoon, scoop some peanut butter from the jar and stuff it into the celery.
- Sprinkle with the granola, and then press down with your fingers or the spoon to make the granola stick to the peanut butter.
Stalks and Leaves
You can eat the entire celery plant! You already know you can eat the stalks, of course, but the root, also known as celeriac, is edible too, as are the leaves inside the bunch, and even the seeds—which are dried and used as a spice, either alone, crushed and mixed with salt, or in the famous seafood seasoning called Old Bay.
If you have a bunch of celery in the refrigerator, try this taste test:
- First take a bite of a celery stalk. What does it taste like? How would you describe the texture? What else do you notice?
- Now pull a leaf out of the middle of the bunch. Is it the same color as the stalk? Taste it. How is it the same or different from the stalk? What about the texture? What else do you notice?
- If you have celery seeds or celery salt in your spice cabinet, taste that too. What do you think?
The company Dr. Brown’s started making Cel-Ray, a celery-flavored soda, in 1868—and it’s still made today! (That’s not true of celery-flavored Jell-O, which the company started, and stopped, making in the 1960s.)
For a fast and super-easy green project, try sprouting celery right in your kitchen. Who knew that by sticking the base of your celery—the part that most people throw out—into a dish of water, you could get greenery growing in just a few days?
What You Need
1 bunch of celery with the stalks still attached at the bottom
Large chef’s knife
Dish or bowl deep enough to hold about 1⁄2 inch of water
A bright (though not too sunny) spot
- Cut off about 2 inches from the bottom of a bunch of celery. Save the celery stalks to eat later.
- Put the bottom of the celery in the dish with about 1⁄2 inch of water.
- Put the dish somewhere that gets bright light, but not in direct (hot) sun.
- Replace the water every few days.
- Be amazed at how fast new greenery appears in the center! You won’t really grow enough celery to be able to eat the stalks, but you can snip off some of the greens and use them as a fresh herb to season soup, hummus, or tuna salad.
Cut the bottom off a celery stalk and look at the cut part. Do you see a row of dots? Do you have a guess about what they might be? This experiment will help you understand what those dots are and what role they play in how plants drink.
What you need
3 jars or glasses
3 leafy celery stalks
- Fill each jar or glass halfway with water and put them by a sunny window.
- Leave one glass plain and put a couple of drops of food coloring in each of the others (try making one glass blue and one red).
- Put one celery stalk in each glass and let it sit for a couple of hours. Start checking it. Check it again after it sits overnight. What do you think is happening—and why?
Explanation: Celery—like most plants—contains xylem, which are little tubes running up the stalks to transport water from the bottom to the top of the plant. Those dots you see along the cut part of the stalk are actually cross-sections of the xylem, as if you were looking at the bottoms of a row of drinking straws. When you put the celery stalks in the colored water, they “drink” the water up through the xylem in a process called capillary action. The food coloring helps you see where the water is going.