Celeriac

Apium graveolens var rapaceum

Celery root, turnip-rooted celery or knob celery are three of many aliases of this interesting globe-shaped root vegetable. Most refer to celeriac as an ugly uninteresting-looking vegetable. Personally I think it is quiet original the artful way Mother Nature packaged it. Celeriac hints at its flavor by perfuming the immediate vicinity with a light fresh scent of celery-parsley.

European and Asian kitchens have long appreciated its crispness and flavor. I don’t have much experience working with celeriac, it is new to me and I am going to have fun thinking of ways to showcase it in recipes.

Varieties

  • Bianco Veneto: Italian variety with fibrous root.
  • Brilliant: European variety.
  • Diamant: Hybrid variety – large round buff-colored roots with celery-like leaves.
  • Giant Prague [also called Large Smooth Prague]: Unsightly root similar to celery.
  • Monstorpolgi: Produce large firm round roots with few side shoots.
  • President: European variety.

Grow Your Own

Celeriac is one vegetable I haven’t tried my hand at growing. It is said to be easier to grow than celery [another garden vegetable that didn’t make it on my list to grow]. One variety, Diamant, stands above the ground for easy picking.

Try growing celeriac click here for more information.

Nutritional Profile

Celeriac is high in carbohydrates, contains moderate protein, fiber and sodium, is low in fat and has no cholesterol. Its major mineral contributions are phosphorus and potassium and it has high levels of Vitamin C.

Dietary Fiber | Sodium | Phosphorus | Potassium | Vitamin B9 [Folate – Folic Acid] | Vitamin C | Vitamin K

In Season

October through February – celeriac is at its best autumn through winter months.

Selecting

Look for firm small – medium sized celeriac roots for best flavor and texture. Choose bulbs free from soft spots [which indicate decay], damage and any sprouting from its root. Avoid larger roots when possible unless you don’t mind more of a woody texture.

Preparing

Trim leaves and stocks if they are still attached. Scrub well under cold running water. Cut a thin slice from each end of the root. Place the root side down and cut around the root to remove the tough skin. The deeper the crevasses and channels the more that will need to be trimmed away. In this case, allow up to ¼ of the weight to be discarded during preparation. Recycle: add the outer fibrous skins to the compost.

When celeriac is cut it quickly turns brown. To slow this reaction, marinate cut pieces in water with a squeeze of lemon juice. A solution of water and vinegar or cold salted water is also helpful or if using in salad, toss with an acid dressing to help hinder discoloration.

Storing

Store unwashed celeriac in the bottom storage bin of your refrigerator. It will keep for 1 – 2 weeks, possibly longer depending on conditions.

Serving Suggestions

Raw celeriac is used in salads, soups, purees, combined with other vegetables or in place of mashed potatoes. Try this recipe:Winter Nori Roll. It is a delicious unique way to make nori rolls.

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