You can harvest celery seeds if you can grow it. It is so simple and you can do this with many of the plants you may already be growing in your garden.
Do you remember this spring when I posted that you could regrow celery? Well, yes you can, but there are some things to know first!
1.) When you cut the bottom of the bunch of celery off (see above link) , let little rootlets form first by setting it in a dish of water for a few days. Then plant it outside. No rootlets = no growth!
2.) It needs a LOT of water. I had read that it was a bog plant originally, and it loves those conditions. A drip system would be totally helpful for celery (along with your cabbages). Next year?!
3.) They might have thrived in a bit of shade. Sun is fine, but the hot sun we had this summer (90-107° every day for almost two months) just increased the need for water. I lost several that way.
4.) I could have cut lots of celery leaf to flavor chicken salad, potatoes, and soups, but I was afraid it would hurt the growth of the plant. Note: I do NOT get big, juicy stalks but have to content myself happy to use the leafy tops with about 3″ of stalk. More just grows from the crown of the plant.
5.) If I’m lucky, the plant goes to seed, and I collect seed before I tear the planty out in the fall. Here’s how it works:
In order to get to the seed stage, just let the celery plants you have go “to head”. That means you can still pick leaves and the mini-stalks, but don’t cut back the lanky stalks that shoot up from the heart (middle) of the plant. For me, here in the Midwest, they started to set seed in late August.
Eventually, the stalks will have flowers very much like Queen Anne’s lace. Butterflies love them. They will smell exactly like celery~ so lovely and fresh!
The petals will fall, and the developing seed will swell and start to age.
Here you can see several stages of seed development. It is quite lovely when you get up close. Little stripes become defined, better than the store-bought kind (what I had in the spice cabinet looked crushed)!!
The aroma of celery intensifies now and makes one hungry for potato salad or such 😉
When the celery seeds start to darken, take care not to shake them as you cut. Catch the seed heads into a bag or bowl. I found they want to drop off if the weather has been excessively hot and dry. If it has rained, wait for a dry day to collect the seed.
Store celery seeds in a tin or the spice shaker of your choice, and enjoy this appetite-stimulating seed. Is it a spice? Or an herb?
Celery Seeds Health Benefits:
Celery seeds are used as a diuretic. People who are suffering from gout and arthritis may find celery seed helpful, as the diuretic properties promotes the clearing of uric acid crystals collecting in the joints. They are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the swelling and pain.
They have the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, aid milk flow in nursing mothers, and freshen breath. Avoid in pregnancy if you are experiencing bleeding.
For a great little site on nutrition, go to nutrition-info.com.