[1] It may be familiar, but a stalk of celery can be an inspiration (photo © Good Eggs).


[2] Celery salad tops a piece of grilled fish (photo © King Restaurant | New York City).


[3] A Japanese take on raw celery sticks. Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetit (photo © Bon Appetit).


[4] Celery Caesar Salad. Here’s the recipe from Bon Appetit

 

March is National Celery Month.

When you think of celery—most of us don’t spend much time on it—you likely think of “the usual”:

  • Bloody Mary Garnish
  • Crudités
  • Mirepoix (the French cooking staple of celery, carrots and onions)
  • Omelets & Frittatas
  • Salads
  • Soups, Stocks & Stews
  • Stir-Frys
  • Stuffed Snack (ants on a log, cream cheese, crab salad, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Stuffing
  •  
    Here are more ways to enjoy the chewy green stalks:

  • Add-Ins To Other Vegetable Recipes (caponata, ratatouille, etc.)
  • Braised, Roasted or Stewed (alone or with other vegetables)
  • Global Fusions (check out the kombu celery sticks in photo #3)
  • Gratins
  • Juice & Juice Blends
  • Pickles (how to pickle)
  • Relish & Salsa
  • Riffs On Classic Dishes (like the Celery Caesar Salad in photo #4)
  • Roasted (alone or with other vegetables)
  • Slaws
  •  
    Don’t throw away the leaves! They taste like a spicier, stronger version of the stalks.

  • Add them to salads
  • Use them as garnishes.
  • Toss the fresh leaves into whatever you’re cooking, as an herb: eggs, fish, meats soups and stews.
  • Dried as a cabinet herb.
  •  
    Check out these 35 celery recipes from Bon Appetit.

    FOOD TRIVIA: According to the USDA, “stalk” refers tp the whole bunch or head of celery.

    A single stick is called a rib.

     
    THE HISTORY OF CELERY

    Celery is a marshland plant that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. Believed to have originated in the Mediterranean basin, it has a long fibrous stalk that tapers into leaves.

    Ancient literature documents that celery, or a similar plant, was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C.E. Woven garlands of wild celery have been found in early Egyptian tombs.

    Celery is a member of the Apiaceae family, commonly known as the celery, carrot or parsley family. Common celery is Apium graveolens.

    In ancient times, Ayurvedic physicians used celery seed to treat quite a few conditions: arthritis, colds, digestion, flu, liver and spleen ailments, even water retention.

    Celery was considered a holy plant in classical Greece, and was used to crown the winners of the Nemean Games, similar to the use of bay leaf crown at the Olympic Games.

    The Romans valued celery more for cooking than for religion.

    Early stalk celery often produced hollow stalks. The plant was bred over many centuries, and by the 17th century, Italian farmers had created a variety with solid stalks that we know today.

    Breeding also eliminated the plant’s natural bitterness and strong flavors.

     
    THE TWO TYPES OF CELERY

    There are two types of stalk celery varieties: self-blanching or yellow, and green or Pascal celery, the type typically found in the U.S.

    Blanching is the process of covering the growing celery stalks to reduce bitterness and lighten the stalk color to a pale yellow-green.

    Blanching also produces a sweeter celery stalk.

    In North America, green Pascal stalk celery is preferred and mainly eaten raw. In Europe and the rest of the world, self-blanching varieties are preferred.
     
    Celery seeds—actually very small fruits—are used as a spice, either as whole seeds or ground. The ground seeds are mixed with salt to produce celery salt.

    The seeds provide a valuable essential oil that is used in the perfume industry.

    Is celeriac related to celery? Yes: very closely!

    Celeriac, a knobby root vegetable also known as celery root, is a sibling of stalk celery: Apium graveolens var. rapaceum. While it’s found at French restaurants and other fine restaurants in the U.S., it hasn’t caught on in a big way.

    Celeriac is very popular in Europe, where it is eaten cooked or raw.

     
     
    WHERE OUR CELERY COMES FROM

    Currently, California harvests about 23,500 acres of celery per year, Florida harvests 3,500, Michigan 3,000 acres, and Texas 1,200 acres.

    California harvests year-round, Florida harvest from December to May, Texas from December to April, Michigan through September. Per capita consumption of celery is about 9 to 10 pounds per person annually.

    Source: California Celery Research Advisory Board

     
      


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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