For ease of reading, we’ve split the “Miraculous Mirepoix” post into two parts since there is simply so much to tell you! In the first part we highlighted the origin of each vegetable and the first steps for garden prep. This second half discusses planting, growing instructions, as well as some delicious kitchen uses!

This is the fifth post in an ongoing series featuring “grow-your-own” produce and how to make the most of it this summer. Our hope is to demystify the process … help your “green (or maybe not-so-green) thumb” emerge … have some fun, particularly with the kids hanging around your house or neighborhood this summer … and help everyone understand a little bit better how their food comes to be!

We hear you…“Gardening tips from a soup company?” Hey, we’re foodies – for us, food is endlessly fascinating and we think the more you know, the better you will eat; the better you eat, the better you’ll feel. Pretty simple notion and one that is fundamental to New England Country Soup … so let’s go play in the dirt and have some fun!

Now for second half of “Miraculous Mirepoix” we’re going to delve into the nitty-gritty aspects of the planting process (and no, that wasn’t some pun about these vegetables and their dirty living quarters). Follow the instructions below for a family-friendly project with some delicious end results!

Plant Prep: The great thing about growing this way is that you get to enjoy the produce and plants from the get go and use the “scraps” to create more produce!

For the carrots:

  1. Cut the carrots from their tops leaving a quarter-inch piece of carrot attached to the greens. Then, cut most of the green leaving a small quarter inch bud of green. Enjoy the rest of the carrot!
  2. Plant these little tops in a shallow pot or tray just below the soil line. Keep the soil damp and new carrot leaves will soon grow.  These leaves can now be used as garnish, flavoring, and so much more and they taste just like the roots below!
  3. If you are happy with your carrot tops, get ready for carrot season in early fall (they like cooler temperatures around 60-75 degrees). Go here for more details.

For the celery:

  1. Cut the celery stalks from the root base leaving a few inches of celery stalk attached to the base. Enjoy the rest of the celery.
  2. Set the base in a very shallow dish of water, keeping the water level constant at all times.
  3. Let sit for a few days to re-hydrate and start new roots.
  4. Since it is currently still too hot outside to plant celery, use a deep terra cotta pot or a window box full of organic and well-tilled soil and dig a shallow hole the size of the base of celery. Fill the shallow hole with water so it makes a little earthy pool and place the base inside. Cover the whole thing lightly with soil (about an inch or less) and water again. Continue to water and you’ll start to see little green baby celery leaves begin to grow.
  5. You can harvest the plant at any time (the leaves are just as good as carrot leaves!), but remember the plant will never grow as big and hearty as the supersized celeries in the grocery stores!

For the onion:

  1. Cut off the root bottom of the onion (skin intact) leaving about 1-2” of onion meat attached. Enjoy the rest of the onion.
  2. Leave to dry or “callous over” in a shaded area of your pantry or kitchen.
  3. Plant a single onion bottom in a small terra cotta pot filled 2/3 way with organic moistened soil. Create a small shallow hole and rest the onion bottom inside. Cover with with another 1-2” of soil and water consistently, keeping soil moist.
  4. In a few weeks’ time, delicate young green onions (the long, skinny stalks you buy in the supermarket for baked potatoes, of course, and soups) will start to grow. You can let these continue to grow into nice, tall green onions for multiple uses, or…
  5. If you want to continue onto full onion growth, gently remove these young green shoots from the soil and clean their new roots.  Growing the bulb of the root is your focus.
  6. Replant in a larger pot of soil or out in the garden, covering the roots and building the soil up to keep the stalk standing tall. Remove 2/3’s of the green stalk to allow the plant to focus energy on the onion bulb below the soil. Water daily (and more if very hot). Onions will tell you when they are truly ready when their green tops fall over.

In the Kitchen:

Let the mirepoix do the talking in your next dish. Simply sauté a fine dice of equal parts carrots, celery, and onions with a dash of salt to extract every ounce of flavor until everything is nice and tender and barely translucent. Next add a homemade or jarred tomato sauce, use this as the base of a soup, fold into a pasta component, meat dishes, or jazz up plain old rice. Mirepoix power! In case you don’t want to use all three ingredients at once try one of the recipes below.

Carrot

Whole Grain Carrot Cake

Pickled Carrots with Dill and Serrano (usin’ that dill!)

Carrot salad with lime vinaigrette

Creamy carrot soup

Celery

Celery Seed Dressing

Green Bean and Celery Chopped Salad

Celery Almond Pesto

Zucchini and Celery Soup

Onion

Light French Onion Soup

Onion Tart

Roasted Onion Jam

Rosemary Vidalia Focaccia

Remember you can also use the leafy parts of each of these veggies as subtle seasoning and as garnish. Think delicately flavored carrot tops, earthy savory celery leaves, and crunchy and lightly pungent green onion pieces. Whole lotta green going on!

To be quite honest, our favorite application for a sautéed mirepoix or a fresh mix of finely diced carrots, celery, onions is a steamy bowl of almost any of our all natural and easy-to-fix New England Country Soups! Simply, heat up a helping and top with a sprinkling of the three veggies to add a wholesome and visually outstanding meal. Can you believe you just grew all that?! Proof of the success of your growing is in the joy of your eating! It’s amazing what your dirt, sun, and some water can do!