Celery (Apium graveolens) is a marshland plant that has been cultivated as a versatile vegetable with a high fiber content. Depending on location and cultivar, either its stalks, leaves or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking. All parts and cultivars of celery are highly nutritious, easy to use in culinary creations, and absorb flavor well.

Celery

SEASONAL in Southern California

History

Celery is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. It’s various traditional and ancient uses include flavoring for Greeks and Romans, medicine in ancient China, and food in France.  The modern day version of celery that we are all familiar with was developed in the late 18th century, with fleshy stalks and a parsley-like leaves.

Nutrition

Celery is incredibly rich in fiber, and contains high amounts of antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Celery is rich in a phytochemical known as phthalides, a compound known to lead to lower blood pressure. Celeriac, a variety of celery cultivated for its edible root-like stem and shoots, also has a robust nutritional profile. These nutrients include fiber, vitamins B6, C and K, antioxidants, and important minerals. Cutting celery, another cultivar grown for its thinner stalks and leaves, is used medicinally in Ayurveda (ancient Indian healing practice) and is anti-inflammatory.

Storage

Wrap a whole, uncut celery in aluminum foil in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to four weeks. Don’t wash or cut until ready to use. To store cut celery stalks, place in a container and submerge with water with a lid for up to two weeks. Replenish the water every couple of days. To store cutting celery, place in a jar with clean water and store in a cool place for up to a week. Celeriac will last several weeks in the fridge, and can also be chopped up and frozen to preserve.

Preparation

Celery stalks are incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. Common methods of eating raw celery include crudite dishes with dip, chopped up in a salad, or freshly juiced. Popular cooking methods of celery stalks include braising, boiling, stir frying, sautéing, or adding to broths, soups, and stews. Common preparations of cutting celery include cooking in a vegetable stock, making pesto, garnishing with fresh leaves, or adding to a salad. Celeriac, or celery root, is best eaten peeled, sliced, and raw or cooked like any other root vegetable. Celery pairs well with blue cheese, butter, poultry, fish, and other vegetables.

Cooking

Prepare vegetables by washing, chopping, and peeling. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add one chopped up brown onion. Cook onion until it’s softened, then add celery, celeriac, potato, and garlic. Cook and stir until lightly browned. Increase the heat, add vegetable or chicken stock of your choice, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for for 30 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove the pan from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Process the soup either in a blender or with a handheld immersion blender in batches until smooth. Then return the soup to a pan over medium heat and stir in pure, grass fed cream. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in a bowl topped with freshly chopped cutting celery leaves and/or parsley.

Pro Tips

Celery stalks and celeriac both freeze well. Chop up and freeze on a baking pan for a few hours and transfer to bags to keep frozen for a few months. Blanch celery stalks to freeze for up to 6 months.

Celeriac

Also known as “celery root,” this vegetable is in fact a variety of celery that has been bred specifically for the edible root. With its aromatic, mildly sweet flavor and a potato-like texture, celeriac is an incredibly versatile root vegetable that pairs well with just about everything.

Cutting Celery

Cutting celery, also known as leaf celery or Chinese celery, is a miniature version of traditional celery, primarily used for its herbaceous leaves.

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