Steemit Iron Chef 2018 Act 01 Round 12: Saffron-Braised Celery with Wild Cherries and Flowers

A celery celebration with wildflowers, wild cherries, and homegrown saffron! Please join me in my post for the celery transformation!

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Flowers and Fruit

First off, I check my larder. I need to make room in my freezer and cupboards for upcoming spring and summer harvests. My homegrown saffron doesn't take up much space in my cupboard, but it will be just right for braised celery. I also have elephant garlic flowers that I preserved in vinegar. Left to mellow in the jar for months, they smell like garlic bread -- smooth and mild.

Every summer, I gather gallons of wild pin cherries and freeze them to enjoy all year. Pin cherry trees are so invasive, they are a problem here in Oregon's Willamette Valley. But the cherries are so delicious! They are like a Morello cherry -- sweet but tart. One of my favorite cherries, wild or domestic.

Then I wander the yard for a few flowers. The yellow deadnettle and redbud flowers are just starting to open. The wild field mustard has been blooming for weeks and will keep on for awhile. What a great wild plant!

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Clockwise, from top left: Elephant garlic flowers, saffron, wild pin cherries, yellow deadnettle, redbud flowers, wild field mustard flowers.

Braising Celery

I soaked my saffron in warm water for awhile. I poured that over my peeled celery and elephant garlic flowers, in a skillet where I could control the heat. I let that braise until the celery was really tender.

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Soaking the saffron lets its color develop before I put it on the celery. I'm using the celery peels with other vegetables for a soup stock. That skillet is handy for slowly braising vegetables. I can just set it at a temperature and walk away.

Enjoying Saffron Celery!

This felt fancy enough to have with a glass of white wine. The celery flavor didn't get overwhelmed by any of the other ingredients. But the saffron and mild elephant garlic flowers helped tame the sharpness of the celery, with a deeper flavor.

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Those pin cherries are perfect with the celery! Warm, chopped finely, mixed with fresh-ground black pepper. Yeah, that's good!

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I am glad I made a lot of this -- an entire head of celery! It's so good. Even though my saffron is all gone now, I'll be using that combination of the celery, cherries, and elephant garlic flowers again! Highly recommended!

What Do You Think?

  • Do you like cooked celery?
  • Do you eat any flowers?
  • Do you pick wild cherries?
  • Would you eat my saffron celery?

I eat a lot of wild plants and show you how, because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wild places.

Thanks @progressivechef for creating the Steemit Iron Chef contest series!

I try to make content that's interesting! If you found this informative and helpful, please give it an upvote and a resteem.

Plant List

  • Saffron - Crocus sativus - stamens
  • Pin cherries - Prunus avium
  • Elephant garlic - Allium ampeloprasum - flowers
  • Redbud - Cercis canadensis - flowers
  • Yellow Deadnettle - Lamium galeobdolon - flowers
  • Wild field mustard - Brassica rapa - flowers

Haphazard Homestead

foraging, gardening, nature, simple living close to the land

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The plate looks amazing. HH. And yes a great paring with white wine.

I have been curious about saffron. I know saffron to come from the crocus flower but I have been told that some saffron is toxic. I'm confused.

Wonderful post and the plate look in belonged in Michelin star restaurant. Brava:)


Thanks, @prydefoltz! Common names are behind all the saffron confusion. Saffron comes from a crocus that blooms in the autumn, rather than the spring. So it gets called the Autumn Crocus. It's Crocus sativus. But there is another plant that is called the Autumn Crocus, too. Even though it's not really a crocus. Even worse, it's also called the Meadow Saffron! It's the Colchicum autumnale -- also called Naked Ladies because the flowers come up before the leaves. Their flowers are pink, but I don't have any of my own photos of them. I'll have to ask my mom, because there are a lot in her yard down in Arkansas.

Even though there's confusion with saffron the spice, the people getting poisoned by the Colchicum are mistaking it for the wild garlics, wild leeks, and ramps that have wide leaves in the springtime. People die from eating the leaves. It's a regular occurrence. Here's a picture of the real Saffron Crocus:



Thank you, HH. Oh they are quite different from the springtime crocus. Beautiful flower:)

Wow homegrown saffron. Is it difficult to grow? Looks like a nice experiment. Though I wouldn't know where to get the seeds. A lovely meal to btw. As always!


Saffron seems so easy to grow. They are bulbs, like the springtime crocus. But they should be planted in the autumn. I put them in the far back yard, where they get late afternoon sun. I don't water them at all, not even through our dry summers. The leaves are out all winter and are dying back now. The only thing I do is put wood chips around them in the winter. That's it. Here's a picture of their long, thin, floppy leaves after I put chips on them in the winter. They make a neat 'river of grass'. They would look neat in a fancy garden.

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i was looking into growing saffron a while back, but was quite confused. do u think i can grow them on my balcony, in a container?? (as alot of saffron already grows in spain, i figured they will be alright where i am but might need to be inside in the winter as im more north spain, near french boarder)? i probably would need to water them sometimes as my balcony is covered.


Didn't know it looked like that. If I ever come along some seeds or shoots I'll def give it a try. think we might have to give it a slightly shady spot here!

Sooooooooooo beautiful my Dear, I wish I could try it. Must be incredibly delicious good luck with this round 🌸💖🌸


Thanks, @lenasveganliving! All my homestead ingredients sure did make that celery into something delicious! Without the Steemit Iron Chef, I don't think I ever would have tried this, though. I'm glad I did!

Design of food its like from 5* chef ;) Great work!


Thanks, @liltammy! Flowers make food like nice, I think. Happy weekend!

WOW! What a work of art! I love how the pin cherries set off the celery and the plate as a whole. I am learning a lot not only about wild food, but food art as well!!!

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Good combination of flowers and fruit! It’s great that you have wild pin cherries in your freezer to enjoy all year. This dish looks yummy that I would love to try. You decorated it with beautiful flowers, well done! ;)

I am very pleased to see your exquisite photos, @haphazard-hstead! It's really art!

Lovely and looks healthy. can't go wrong with natural herbs and flowers in a vegan dish.

Would you eat my saffron celery?

yes please 😁

oh wow I've never tried celery that way, looks like it will end up very fragrant and tasty :D! great recipe :D

It is very good to know these natural forms of food. I feel like I need to consume a little more that kind of food ... the body charges and health too. A good weekend my dear!

You are such a great teacher! I don't think I know about pin cherries! They sound delicious, though. I would love to go foraging with you!

That definitely looks interesting and it seems like a creative use of many home grown or wild foods/herbs.

I don't mind cooked celery. I have picked wild cherries. I have eaten a few flowers. Nasturtiums, and dandelion. I would eat the saffron celery! Not sure if that means much though since I will eat almost anything.

Excellent and interesting recipe. I will try to do my own wild menu.

WOW. It looks great. I've never eaten, but I'm sure it's delicious. perfect narration and photo shoots. congratulations. I really loved it.

have a nice day my friend :)

This is what I was looking for on this round...celery in itself is such a lovely veg...simply elevate it with a couple of other ingredients to give it a kick...and you did exactly that!
Hmmm braised celery with homegrown saffron pistils...great idea!
Your plate is really of Michelin Star quality my friend!