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Celery »« Cauliflower

Celeriac

Apium graveolens var rapaceum


Description

Celeriac is a vegetable you don’t see all that often, especially not in supermarkets – but if you can find or grow any, what you’ll get is a versatile root vegetable that is significantly lower in starch than other root vegetables, making it ideal for people on diets.

A slightly bizarre and unappetising-looking vegetable, celeriac is the root of certain types of celery plant and resembles a very knobbly, ugly turnip. However, peel and slice it and you get a savoury, slightly nutty flesh that tastes similar to celery but milder. From there you can eat it raw or cook it.

Celeriac contains a lot of vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, as well as being high in fibre, and low in carbohydrates.

Choose roots that are firm and medium-sized (too large and they can be woody – but factor in losing around a quarter of the celeriac once it’s been peeled). If the stalks and leaves are still attached, make sure they’re still bright green and not wilted. Store in a cool dark place.

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History

Celeriac developed from the same edible root as ordinary celery. It was used by the Romans and ancient Greeks as medicine and food, even getting a mention as selinon in Homer’s Odyssey in 800BC.

By the 17th century it was commonly eaten in Europe, where it remains popular.

Uses

Once peeled, you can do any number of things with celeriac. Cut into strips raw, it makes an interesting addition to a winter salad, or if you’d rather cook it, try adding it to potato mash – just boil it with your potatoes until tender. Celeriac adds a whole new dimension to scalloped potatoes – just add slices of it when you assemble the dish, and cook as usual.

Try it in any dish that you’d normally use potatoes for, or just as a side vegetable.

Facts

Celeriac is sometimes called knob celery, celery root, turnip-rooted celery, or celery turnip – which gives you a good idea of what to expect from it.

If you think you might like to grow celeriac, be prepared for a wait – it takes around 200 days from seeding to maturity, though if you get impatient it’s edible at any stage.



Celery »« Cauliflower

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