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Crop Failure Makes Delicious Paper

The British summer 2012 has been very difficult for vegetable growers. We have had a very rainy period: the saturated soil and lack of sunshine has put pressure on our plants. This stress had caused things like onions to bolt (i.e. produce flower stalks and seeds instead of a fleshy edible bulbs.) The celery has suffered, too. It is extremely leafy, and the plants have produced very stringy stems instead of a soft edible shoots and a heart. Slug damage is obvious as well. Instead of that unique, sweet celery taste, the vegetable has become bitter. Rather than digging them up and tossing them on the compost heap, I decided that now was a good time to make some celery paper.

The celery plant was pulled out of the ground, and the roots were chopped off. All of the leaves were removed .The outer stems were taken off and washed. These pieces were then cooked in

a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. The stems turned a uniform, dull green colour, and went limp

(Figure 1). (Similar results were achieved by putting the stems into the deep freeze for 24 hours). The fleshy parts of the stems were removed using an ordinary butter knife. Laying the stem on a cutting board with the stringy side down, I scraped off the juicy, inner part of the stem, being careful not to rip the stringy bits ( Figures 2&3 ).The flesh, or pith, was then discarded (Figure 5), and the skeletal stalks were cut into short lengths and taken to the liquidiser (Figures 4 & 6).

The stringy celery was processed in three stages:

1) Blended for 45 seconds, then drained (Figure 7). 2) Removed any stringy bits from the blade of the machine, and cut any fibres longer than 25mm (one inch) with scissors. Liquidised a further 90 seconds, and repeated step one. 3) Finished liquidising for 90 seconds.

I drained the liquidised contents and examined the wet mass. (Figures 8, 9, & 10). The long stringy fibres had been chopped reasonably well and frayed at the same time. It was ready for use. The finished celery pulp was put into the papermaker’s vat and processed in the normal way by forming, couching, and pressing the new paper.

I teach people all over the UK about paper, and I use plant materials in my recipes. This includes petals, leaves and stems. Often, the fibres that are found in the stems of plants, like nettles, hop bines and rose briars are quite hard. Breaking these stems down requires the use of caustic chemicals and boiling the plant materials, which can be a dangerous activity. This is a special problem when working with the general public at shows and with children in schools. I therefore have to prepare these plants in my studio before a workshop, and explain the process using photos or videos.

By discovering the ease with which celery releases it stringy fibres in the liquidiser, I now have a plant which I can demonstrate and treat without the use of chemicals, and which my students can prepare themselves during lessons with no health and safety concerns.

So much for a disastrous British summer: the silver lining to this cloud has been the creation of

a lovely, green -gold paper, translucent, crisp, and unique. Its texture and colour are a treat to the eye. I can’t eat it, but visually, it’s delicious!

Jonathan Korejko © 2012

T: 01526 378222

E: jj.ck@zen.co.uk

W: www.timberlandand.co.uk

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Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 F i g u r e 4 Jonathan Korejko
Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 F i g u r e 4 Jonathan Korejko
Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 F i g u r e 4 Jonathan Korejko

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Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 F i g u r e 4 Jonathan Korejko ©

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Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 F i g u r e 4 Jonathan Korejko ©

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Jonathan Korejko © 2012

T: 01526 378222

E: jj.ck@zen.co.uk

W: www.timberlandand.co.uk

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Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 8 Figure 7 Figure 9 Figure 10 Jonathan Korejko ©

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Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 8 Figure 7 Figure 9 Figure 10 Jonathan Korejko © 2012

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Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 8 Figure 7 Figure 9 Figure 10 Jonathan Korejko © 2012
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Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 8 Figure 7 Figure 9 Figure 10 Jonathan Korejko © 2012

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Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 8 Figure 7 Figure 9 Figure 10 Jonathan Korejko © 2012

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Jonathan Korejko © 2012

T: 01526 378222

E: jj.ck@zen.co.uk

W: www.timberlandand.co.uk

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100% celery fibre paper Magnified view of celery paper
100% celery fibre paper
Magnified view of celery paper

Jonathan Korejko © 2012

T: 01526 378222

E: jj.ck@zen.co.uk

W: www.timberlandand.co.uk

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