Celeriac

celeriac root

celeriac root

I discovered celeriac in a co-op in Portland. The root is curious looking with a light-brown warty exterior. Called the vegetable world’s ugliest food it didn’t look like something I would eat, and its name sounded like celery, which I don’t like, but still I was curious. Besides I didn’t think it was ugly.

After researching I decided I must try it. I figured I could use celeriac as a replacement for celery in soups and bean dishes. Little did I realize how many ways I could enjoy celeriac.

About

Celeriac can be labeled celery root or knob celery and is a variety of celery. It’s a cousin of anise, carrots, parsley, and parsnips. It grows a few celery-like stalks but the root is the main party. Its mild celery-taste has a hint of parsley. Its texture is potato-like, not at all stringy like celery.

Because it has a long growing season—112 days from time of planting—it grows best in mild climates.

History

Homer mentioned selinon in Odyssey his 800 BCE epic. Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians used celeriac medicinally and for religious ceremonies. Celeriac became an important vegetable in Europe during the Middle Ages, and was first recorded in France in 1623. The French make a cold salad called celerie remoulade dressed with a mustardy mayonnaise. It is a popular veggie throughout Europe and can be French fried.

Nutrition

Celeriac is a low calorie root and contains Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is high in fiber to feed our microbiome.

How to use

Rinse off celeriac which is surprisingly clean for a root crop. Because of its warty exterior, celeriac is easiest to peel with a small sharp knife rather than a veggie peeler.

Cut off the few top stalks and leaves that you can eat if you want. Cut the root in half. Depending on its size, if you need only a small amount for your dish, peel only half because the exposed part will turn brown. Stored in the refrigerator, celeriac will last several weeks.

Cut the root into ½ inch pieces to use in soups and stews. To use in stir fries or as French fries, cut them into sticks with a mandolin or by hand.