Home-made Herbs and Spices: Celery Leaf

Serves: n/a
Cost: €0
Preparation and cooking time: ~4 hours
Calories: n/a

So, I thought I’d start a little post series which I can add to as the weeks go by. Home-made herbs and spices… but I’m not talking about spice mixes – like a jerk chicken rub. No no, these posts are all about making new herbs yourself, from scratch, using ingredients you might very well normally throw in the garbage. The title of this post does kind of give away what I’ll be making today, but I figured that before I get into that, now would be a great time to share a few photos with you from a trip I made into Paris a month ago. I’ll admit to feeling rather uninspired that night, so the ones you will see below were probably the best from the mediocre bunch I took.

Those of you who may remember my post from a while ago might also be thinking to yourself: “hang on, isn’t he supposed to be in England on vacation now?”. Well… yes I was supposed to be, but a couple of weeks ago we discovered that my wife’s passport had expired. That’s in the process of being resolved, but we’ve had to postpone our trip until we can get the new passport issued. Just a week or so – then we’ll be on our way. Thankfully I hadn’t already booked any tickets when we found out!

Anyway – photos! They’re all taken around the Louvre Museum in Paris:

Louvre Pyramid


Louvre

The glass pyramid and reflecting pools make for some fantastic night shots. I’ve never been entirely sure whether I like the pyramid, set against the beautiful museum building, but it’s certainly unique!

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Across the road is the Place du Carrousel, at the entrance to the Tuileries Garden, with this arch, the “Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel” at the head. Built between 1806 and 1808, it was commissioned to commemorate Napoleon’s victories from the previous year. The arch also forms part of the eastern end (along with the Louvre) of something called the “Axe historique” (historical axis) which is a long line of avenues, buildings, and monuments. If you stand on the steps of the Grande Arche de la Défense you can see the Avenue de la Grande Armée, the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Luxor Obelisk, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and of course finally the Louvre. All of these are perfectly aligned and this is no accident! On a clear day, or night, it’s truly a spectacular sight to see all these famous landmarks in one great, big, straight line.

On to the recipe though – today I’m going to be writing about the wonders of celery leaves. Often, especially in England, I see celery sold in bunches with the leaves already removed, but in France they happily sell it with all the foliage still attached. In the larger supermarkets near me they even provide a trash can next to the shelf so people can rip off the leaves and throw them immediately away. They’re missing out on a great opportunity I say. Not only can the leaves be used to make a flavoursome stock but they can also be dried and then crushed or ground up into a wonderful powder. The flavour lends itself excellently to fish, so rub it all over a good piece of trout before grilling it, or sprinkle it in a sauce, and enjoy the fact that you just made your own herb which, to the best of my knowledge, can’t be bought anywhere (yet)!

Home-made Celery Leaf Spice

Ingredients

Celery Leaf Spice ingredients

  • The leaves from a large bunch of Celery

Instructions

  1. Start off by washing the celery leaves and cutting or tearing up into pieces. Arrange the leaves over a large baking sheet and place into the oven. Turn the oven on to about 80 degrees Celsius and then leave in the oven for roughly 3-4 hours, turning over periodically.
    Preparing the leaves for drying
  2. When the leaves have completely dried and will turn to dust when rubbed between your fingers remove from the oven. You can either crush them roughly by hand or pulverise them in a food processor for a finer result.
    Dried leaves
  3. Store in a jar or sealed container and use to add a unique flavour to your cooking – especially your fish dishes and vinaigrettes!
    Home-made Celery Leaf Spice

Comments

  1. says

    Well, it is very amazing how different people see things or use them. From where I come from- which is the lovely sunny Egypt- we used to use the leafs of a celery and threw the sticks :). When I first came to the US, imagine my shock and sadness WHERE DID THE LEAFS GO?!!! I am used to the leafs not the sticks. But I gave up searching for the leafs and now got used to the sticks finally.Bright idea Charles, I’m really curious if it is better to leave them air dry, will this preserve more of the nutrients? may be I should google it. Also, I was wondering did it have a strong smell as they are when fresh? I tried dried dill but did not like it honestly as it lost much of the smell. Great post, gonna follow this series definitely.

    • says

      Hi Amira, I’m lucky to be able to get the leaves here. So often celery is sold with all the leaves cut off!

      For air-drying… you’re probably right. In the right climate I bet it would absolutely be better to do it this way. Problem is it’s cold and snowy here right now and the oven is really the best way. The heat is quite low, and besides – I have the added benefit of warming up the apartment too :D.

  2. says

    For the most part our stores sell the celery with some of the leaves but not as much as yours! Our bunny adored the leaves so we would buy the celery based on the number of leaves it had! I’m really really loving that you’re doing this series Charles! How clever. I’m going to make this when I buy celery (later today).
    We have a similar unrelated architecture in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum, but it’s not nearly as cool at night. Love your shots. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ROM_Crystal_East.jpg

    • says

      Hi Eva, aw I used to have a bunny when I was a kid. He’d (or was it a she?) would love celery leaves too. Whenever we went on a walk we’d pick him a little “hedgerow salad” – dandelion leaves, dock leaves and groundsel :).

      Goodness – that glass construction… it looks like a space-ship landed on that building :D

  3. says

    So sorry to hear you are not on holidays yet. Luckily you haven’t bought the tickets… Your night photos are beautiful, as always.
    I constantly have dried mixture of stock vegetables in my kitchen, but I do it in the winter when my radiators are very hot. It’s for free and quick :-) (Everyone has a different stock vegetables mixture, so I have been meaning to post about it but somehow keep on forgetting…). I sometimes use celery leaves in stock, but never dry them (I dry celeriac, which I use more often in my stock). Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea! I hope you will be able to go on holidays very soon.

    • says

      Hi Sissi – great idea doing it over radiators. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have only floor and ceiling heating here, so I’d have to spread all the leaves over the floor, and even then it wouldn’t be that efficient I fear, lol!

  4. says

    How disappointing having to postpone your trip. In Canada if you have a ticket already booked for leaving the country, your passport renewal is expedited so you receive it much more quickly … I let my last passport expire, unused, though we now need it even to just cross the US-Canada border, so I can empathize with the inability to travel IF you want to.

    Making your own dried celery leaf is a little too ‘from scratch’ for me. Not quite on the level of making your own ketchup but it’s right up there, Charles. :)

    • says

      Hi A_ – still no news about the passport. Tomorrow it’s going to be 10 working days since we went so I’m hoping there’s no problem. Eeek, it’s only a week until we’re supposed to go (re-go?) although I’ve held off buying the tickets yet.

  5. says

    Loved the photos of Paris – must get there one day! I’m with you on the celery leaves. They have so much flavour and yes, are great in vegetable stocks. I make a fantastic turkey stuffing that uses shallots, walnuts and celery leaves. You saute the celery leaves with the shallots in butter with some salt and add fresh sage. Best seasoning ever and when people ask for the recipe they can’t believe the flavour comes from the celery leaves xx

    • says

      Hi Charlie – that turkey stuffing sounds fantastic. I’ll have to bear it in mind for my Christmas turkey this year! Glad you liked the photos :)

  6. says

    Hi Charles, when summer comes here, I usually dry many herbs to have available in the winter. And all I do is just hang a bouquet of fresh herbs in some cool and dark place, and when it’s dry I place it in a glass jar, then I crush it just before I add it to meals I prepare. Celery leaves are hard to come by here, for some reason they sell only celery stalks, no leaves. When my mother came to visit us, and we went shopping, she was quite surprised to see celery without the leaves. It made her talking for a week, trying to reason and understand why someone would want to eat stalks only, discarding the best part. It was so funny to watch her because I had the exact same train of thoughts when I first came to US and was asking the same questions. :)
    Good luck with your trip to England. I hope renewing your wife’s passport won’t take too long. Thanks for the beautiful photos of Paris!

    • says

      Hi Marina, still no news about the passport alas. Tomorrow it will have been 10 working days since we applied for it, and they said that would be the length of time it took… I hope it goes ok :(.

      It’s curious how “wasteful” some countries are with plants isn’t it? It’s almost impossible to get beetroot greens anywhere, and they’re delicious. I remember being mad once when I went to the market and bought a bunch of fresh carrots, still with the greens attached. The man took them to put them in a bag… and ripped off the leaves and threw them in the trash… grr!

  7. says

    Before I say anything – gorgeous pictures!!!!

    I love the way you have oven dried the leaves. This is a brilliant idea to rein in refrigerator waste.

    I am sorry your trip had to be postponed. Once my FIL needed to have a heart surgery, and right before booking the tickets to be with him at that time,I realized my PP had expired. It was another 3 months before I got my PP.

    • says

      Thank you Minnie :)

      Aren’t passports annoying things? I wish in 2013 we didn’t need to carry little paper books around with us just to go to a different country anymore. Sigh, one day it will change maybe!

  8. says

    Ooooo Charles, you are clever! I LOVE the sound of your celery spice. I hate waste so I will definitely try this as usually half the poor celery ends up in the bin. What a great idea…well done you :)

    • says

      Thank you Anneli, if you think this is clever wait until you see what I’ve got up my sleeve next! Won’t be making it for a while though :)

  9. says

    Hi there, this post about herbs is just looking Amazing. I am so tempted to try it pretty soon. Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks for sharing awesome recipes.
    Best Regards, Sonia !!!

    • says

      Hi KB, I must admit, I love celery in any shape or form, so celery is always welcome in any dish of mine, but it’s definitely nice to not trash the leaves!

  10. says

    I grow and dry my own herbs and I would never have thought of drying celery leaves. What a great idea! This would be great added to soups and even vinaigrettes. Thanks for the idea and the process!!! Oh Charles – I love the pictures of Paris. They are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing these. I’ve really seen a lot of Europe through the eyes and pictures of my blogger friends!

    • says

      Hi MJ – it does add a very nice flavour, especially to vinaigrettes! I have some more ideas I want to try – can’t wait to post those too :).

      So glad you enjoyed the photos too :)

  11. says

    Charles, I’ve always intended to dry herbs at home, and I don’t seem to get around to it. Even when my herb garden is finishing up and I think how lovely it would be to capture the last of it in bottles for the rest of the year, I don’t manage to get it done. I think this series of yours might be just the catalyst I need!

    • says

      Hi Jean – if you have a place which is warm and dry then you could easily do this on the cheap. An airing cupboard for example is perfect. Sadly I don’t have such a thing so I need to use my oven – I hope you’re able to start drying some herbs yourself :)

  12. says

    Grah can’t ever warrant turning my oven on for 3-4 hours.. I did it before for slow-dried cherry tomatoes, but felt my heart tug every time I thought of the cost… On the bright side you def save on the kitchen waste bit.

    p.s. LOUVRE LOOKS GORGEOUS

  13. says

    You are just so clever Charles. I would never think to dry leaves and turn them into herbs. What a great idea! I’ll be looking forward to this series for sure. I can’t wait to see what other herbs and spices you whip up.

    The photos of Paris have me seriously wanting to get back there again. I love Paris at night. I love Paris by day too, but at night…it’s just so pretty. I’m not sure that I like the pyramid in terms of its architectural value, but I have to say it always intrigues me and I do like to look at it.

    • says

      Thanks Kristy – the next “spice” I’ll be posting is something I’ve been wanting to try for absolutely AGES. Haven’t made it yet… maybe it’ll be a disaster, but we’ll see! :D

      I must admit I like Paris most by night. Everything is always so pretty then… well, it’s not called the city of light for nothing I’m sure :).

  14. charlotte says

    I just picked my first whole celery from my garden and found your site. I dried some of the celery leaves in my oven as you suggested and then mixed with salt for a great celery salt to use with for cooking.

    • says

      Hi Charlotte – I’m really glad… I’m so jealous of you for growing celery too… I absolutely love celery… never tried growing it myself when I lived with my parents in their garden, and of course now I live in an apartment with only a balcony… sigh, one day perhaps! :)

  15. Judi Jones says

    I am so glad I found this post on how to dry the celery leaves. I have been using fresh, minced celery leaves in some of my cooking, especially tomato sauce. I even have a recipe for red beans and rice that specifically calls for celery leaves. Thank you so much for posting these instructions.

    • says

      No problem Judi – I have another homemade spice recipe which I never got around to making it… your comment has inspired me to try and get around to it finally!

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