Vege Profile: Celery

A High fiber, Low calorie, Hydrating, cleansing, crunchy son of a gun. And no. It’s not just for stirring your bloody Mary. 

Celery has been the headline act in many a weight loss program, detox and diet fad. As these trends come and go one thing stands true. The diets were questionable, the celery is not.  

Flavour for days! Not my first thought with celery, until I tried organic. Boy howdy, if there has ever been a better example of organic winning the day, it’s with celery. Not just in flavour, conventionally grown celery has been added to the ‘dirty dozen’ list of veggies which require a ridiculous number of pesticides to produce. Thank you for keeping us lean, green and organic Streamside!  

Celery is native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. The ancient Greeks and Romans used celery for its flavour, the ancient Chinese used it as medicine. It has been cultivated for over 3 thousand years. Celery's ancestor was a plant called Smallage, which was a bitter tasting marsh plant used for medicinally. The first recorded mention of celery being used in cooking comes from France in 1623. 

Bet you’ve been lopping off that leafy mop-top and just using the stalks, right? Well, you’ve been missing out! At the beginning of the season the leaves are tender and juicy, perfect to add to salads. As they become thicker and older you can prep them like you would any herb: minced, coarsely chopped, or whole for stocks and soups and sauces.  

Celery, onions and bell peppers are the three vegetables considered to be the "holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. In French cuisine it is celery, onion and carrot coming together to form the base of many traditional dishes in a ratio of 1:2:1. 

Celery , like peanuts, can cause severe reaction is some, even anaphylactic shock. Interestingly, peanut allergy is more common in America, whereas celery allergy tops the charts in Europe. 

Coming in at 95% water with 2 grams of dietary fibre, celery can help curb cravings. Fibre absorbs water in the digestive tract making you feel fuller, longer. Besides vit K, folate and magnesium celery isn’t very high in nutrients but retains the nutrients it does have when cooked. Some people claim that celery is a "negative calorie" food, taking more calories to digest than it contains. Sadly, it's fiction. 

Numerous studies have been conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties of celery, finding phytonutrients that could play a part in relieving symptoms. Celery is another vegetable renowned in natural medicine, both ancient and current. It holds both antifungal and antibacterial properties that have been used to effect for many years. 

To store: Wrap your celery in a bag in the fridge or try chop celery into lengths and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge. Wrap the leaves in a damp kitchen towel and place the bundle in an open plastic bag in your vegetable drawer.  

To prep: Rinse well. Cut a 1cm off the base. Cut the tops off the celery. Save these for your stocks, salads or DIY celery salt.  

To freeze: Blanch in boiling hot water for 3 minutes. Plunge into ice water for 3 minutes. Drain. Lay celery on a tray and flash freeze in a freezer. Place frozen celery into a container. Only good for soups and stocks once frozen. 


Celery recipes 

Celery leaf pesto 

Chinese Sichuan Celery salad 

Chilean ensalada apaio con palta 

Cream of celery soup - French 

Waldorf Salad - USA

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