How to plant celery and prepare persimmons

Hello and welcome to Organic Edible Garden and Kitchen. Welcome Megan. Hi Rob. Wow aren’t these a beautiful fruit. Yeah, the birds love them too and it’s often a war who gets them first. I like using persimmons in both savoury and sweet dishes. Today’s dish is going to be a sweet one. It’s going to be a breakfast dish. I’m going to macerate them in some ginger and serve them on a chia bircher. And this week we’re going to plant celery. And like fennel, there’s been a huge increase in popularity for the home gardener. I wonder whether this is because they’re such a heavily sprayed crop. Let’s pick some for my dish. Yeah, let’s do it. Celery has the reputation of being really difficult to grow. But if you get the two key elements right, which is water and food, not only is it not difficult, but it tastes better and is better for you than the shop-bought ones. Celery is a marsh plant and it likes to grow in swampy conditions which are always wet. For that reason it’s a good cool weather crop.

So when we plant these and the rains come, it’s going to be wet for the next couple of months and it’ll thrive. The second really important thing is your soil, and feeding it with something really high in nitrogen. In this case, we’ve gone and put some chicken manure in here and some well-rotted compost. Even after we’ve planted, we’re going to add some blood and bone to that and some rock dust. And not only that, but during its growing season, every two weeks we’re going to give it a boost of some other fertiliser.

Now this traditionally does like a fish and seaweed mix, but it can be chicken poo or sheep pellets or any high nitrogen food. Celery has very few pest problems, but it can get diseases some times, so giving it a bit of air movement really helps with this. Celery also has really large feeder roots at the surface, so it’s important that you keep it weed-free during the growing season. Six plants like this will be enough to feed an average family because you don’t have to harvest the whole lot. You can just take the stalks off as you need them. And if growing normal celery is still daunting for you, another really good option is Cutting Celery. This is also know as Chinese Celery and the great thing about it, it grows like a parsley. You only need one for an average family but you use the stalks and the leaves for things like soups and stews and just even in salads.

The great thing about this is, it’s easy to grow and it doesn’t get rust or other disease problems like your normal celery. The other thing we’re going to add is some rock dust. This will make the plants really disease-resistant and give them the extra boost they need. The reason I use blood and bone on something like celery is because we want the N and P in the soil. This gives you the leaf and the root growth, but I don’t want the phosphorus (Rob means ‘potassium’ not ‘phosphorus’). All that will do will give me a bit of flower to it.

But saying that if your celery does go to flower, it’s great for the beneficial insects. The thing that will hit your celery is probably slugs and snails. And the best way to get rid of them is with the yeast trap or an upturned pot with newspaper put inside. And if you want to use companion plants around these guys, the two best are either nasturtium or watercress. These guys trail around them, keep the weeds down and don’t interfere with the root system. And they’re both edible as well. Today I’m making a persimmon bircher. Bircher’s a really versatile breakfast. You can top it with any fruit and it goes especially well with Rob’s sweet persimmons and the ginger juice I’m going to put with it. So I’m going to take some oats. Followed by some sunflower seeds. So a few tablespoons of sunflower seeds. Then this is a really important part of the bircher is some chia seeds. You can use black or white chia seeds. So I’ve got a couple of tablespoons in there and the reason they’re important is because once they absorb water they’re going to make it sort of come together and almost become a little porridge-like.

Next I’m going add some coconut. Now you can use different types of coconut. I just happen to have chips in the cupboard. So I’m going to add a few tablespoons of the chips in here. But you could just use regular dried dessicated coconut. And then I have some honey. Just a little bit. Don’t need much. And a little squeeze of lemon juice to make it sort of sour a little. Another nice ingredient to add into a bircher is grated apple. That creates a nice sour flavour in there. Makes it a little yoghurty. And then I’ve got my coconut milk. I’m going to mix that all together. You could also add in here some currants or sultanas or other dried fruits. Little bits of apricot would be nice. I just wanted to make this a nice plain one and really let the persimmons shine. I’m going to take a honey wrap. And place it on top.

Now you could actually just place a plate or some plastic wrap but this is a great place to use the re-useable honey wraps. And pop that in the fridge overnight. Something else I can prepare ahead of time is the persimmons. So I’m going to take a couple of persimmons. Just take as many as you like. And chop them up. So I’m going to chop them up into quarters. And this one’s a seedless one. But if you had seeds in there, you’d just chop around them or pull them out. Now I’m going to juice some ginger. So it’s a really quick juice. I’m just going to grate it and juice it in my hands. So I’m going to take a big piece of ginger here. I’m not going to worry about – this is nice fresh ginger – I’m not going to worry about peeling it.

The grater can get a little blocked up so you just clean it with a knife. And keep going. I’ve done quite a bit of persimmon there, so I want a few tablespoons of juice. OK, that should be enough. I’m going to take that and just in my hands, squeeze it over the persimmons. It’s really nice using ginger with a bircher. Bircher’s a sort of colder breakfast, so it’s nice to have the warmth of the ginger in there. You could also serve the bircher with some poached fruit on top. Then I’m going to sweeten this, depending on how sweet your fruit is. But usually with ginger, it’s nice to add a little bit of sweetener. So I’ve got some really nice local honey in here. Just mix that through. And I like to leave that overnight in the fridge as well, just for the ginger to infuse in there and it sort of lightly softens the fruit. You can see how the chia’s really bulked up in there and it’s absorbed a lot of that coconut milk.

So now we’re ready to serve. So take a bowl. And pop that in the bottom of here. And now pop some of these persimmons on top. This’d be a great breakfast to take to work as well. You could easily pop it in a jar or a container and have it later. It also actually makes quite a nice dessert. And then I’ve also got some coconut yoghurt here. Put a tablespoon of that. As well as – I’ve got some macadamias. It’s not necessary but it’s nice to have a little bit of crunch in there.

And the persimmons go actually really well with lime. So add a little bit of lime and another nice thing to add here would be some cardamom. Cardamom and persimmon and lime are a really good combination. And then I’ll finish it with another little drizzle of my honey. And there we’re done. Hi Nell. How are you? I’m good. Ooo look at that wonderful breakfast dish today. Yeah, it’s a really lovely bircher that I’ve topped with the persimmons. I just wanted to make something simple to showcase the flavour of the persimmons. Fantastic. So persimmons are one of those amazing fruit that really are exceptionally high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. You can tell that from the wonderful orange-yellow colour of them. They’re also incredibly high in antioxidants, particularly those ones – betacarotene, lutein, lycopene – which are really good for your eye health, for your skin health and very high in fibre as well.

So like a lot of fruit and vegetables, it’s really important to eat the skin because that’s where a lot of the antioxidants and the fibre come from. Actually they are higher in fibre than apples, so very high in fibre. So there are two types of persimmons. There’s this one which most people grow nowadays which is a non-astringent variety which can be eaten when it’s hard or when it’s riper and it’s nice and crispy like an apple. Then there’s the astringent type of persimmon which can leave a very bitter taste in the mouth and has to be left until it’s fully ripened to really get the benefit and the delicious-ness of it. It is actually really high in tannic acid. And tannic acid can actually slow down transit time in the body which can be really helpful for alleviating diarrhoea, so a good natural way to be able to do that..

Read More: How to grow celery at home in 5 easy steps

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