This may come as no great surprise, but I am primarily a writer. Not a scientist. Growing up, I spent more hours trying to avoid science fair projects than I did working on them.
But my work as a cook and a recipe developer place me in science’s path in strange and inspiring ways (let’s remember that baking is pure chemistry). And lately, I’ve become truly inspired to conduct a series of windowsill experiments in agriculture: I’m trying to regenerate food scraps so as not to waste anything during these times of scarcity. I imagine my grade school teachers warming with pride to see my little bowls and jars of food scraps, earnestly regenerating in my kitchen: the scallions, proudly raising their green arms to the sky, nearly ready for second harvest; leeks regrowing like tiny little spyglass telescopes; romaine lettuce bottoms creating new leaves. And I have to confess, it all gets me pretty excited to witness it myself.
Easy never tasted so awesome.
But the one I am most excited about is the celery.
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I am unabashed in my love of celery. I try to keep a couple heads' worth, cleaned, cut into handy snackable lengths and wrapped in damp towels in the fridge, for ease of eating or prepping for recipes. I have salads that are just celery lightly dressed, and I am a nearly 50-year-old person who will regularly and unapologetically have ants on a log for lunch. So, the fact that you can take the base of a head of celery and grow more celery from it is fully magical to me.
If you like celery in any form (or had to buy a head for a recipe), you should absolutely join me in this regeneration exercise. You don’t even have to have been a science-fair-denier to want to embark on this particular project, but if you too ever spent a long Sunday night making up data charts to tape on a piece of foam core, it might help make you right with the universe.
Here’s how to do it!
How to regenerate celery
This could not be easier, and will yield at the very least, some lovely leaves and small stalks to use in recipes as fresh herbs.
1. Cut the bottom two inches off of your head of celery.
2. Place in a shallow bowl with about a half an inch of water.
3. Change the water or refill every day.
4. As you start to see the shoot come up in the middle, keep an eye on the outer layers, and peel back and discard as they start to decay.
You can use the celery leaves and small stalks as you would parsley or other fresh herbs, or, if you happen to have a garden or a pot, once you have root regrowth, you can transplant into soil and get a full new head of celery! I am not a gardener, but I love celery leaves in salads and omelets and as an herb, so I just use those up until I don’t get more growth.
RELATED: The Best Way to Use Celery Leaves
If you are homeschooling some young people who are not necessarily passionate about science, this might be a good project to have them participate in. Late-Sunday-night stress and tears completely absent!
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