Celery powder is a dried, ground concentrate prepared from fresh celery that is used as a seasoning and as a food preservative in organic meat products. Several commercial preparations exist, and it can also be made using a food dehydrator. Some celery powders are prepared from celery juice.
Celery powder contains a significant amount of naturally occurring nitrate and is often treated with bacterial cultures to produce nitrite.In the United States, treated celery powder is sometimes used as a food preservative in organic meat products, which is allowed per USDA regulations because the nitrate/nitrite is naturally occurring.USDA regulations do not allow artificially added nitrate or nitrite to be used directly in organic food products.Meats preserved with celery powder include hot dogs and bacon. Celery powder prepared from celery juice has been shown to have a nitrate content of approximately 2.75%.
Celery powder stands distinct from other plant-based seasonings, largely for its use in curing meats (deli turkey and sausage, for instance). But unlike synthetic nitrates and nitrites, which accomplish similar processing objectives—more on this below—celery powder is allowable as an organic ingredient. At issue is the fact that a significant amount of processing goes into producing celery powder for use in cured meats, and that the celery itself does not have to be organic.
Additionally, unlimited quantities of this powder are also allowed in meats which are labeled “uncured” or “nitrate-free.” Consumer Reports and CSPI would like broad changes to processed meat labels, so brands like Niman Ranch and Applegate cannot call their celery-enhanced products uncured.
1.Wash and dry celery leaves and other celery bits and pieces. (To reduce drying time, consider chopping stalks into smaller pieces.)
2.Fully dry leaves and stalk pieces in a dehydrator or at the lowest heat and convection setting of your oven. (Check occasionally and remove dry, brittle pieces, leaving the rest of the celery pieces to continue drying until brittle.)
3.Once they are fully dry, grind up the celery leaves and stalk pieces until you obtain a fine powder. Celery leaves can be easily pulverized with a mortar and pestle. If using stalk bits, though, I find it much easier to use a spice grinder of coffee grinder.
4.Store the homemade celery powder in a well-sealed container to keep moisture out, preferably out of direct sunlight.
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