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The tasty and nutritious vegetable is much more than just a soup ingredient
Whether celeriac or the stalks, celery is one of the few vegetables with hardly any calories, but still packed full of flavour. Read on for creative ways to use it in the kitchen.
Perhaps you only know celery as the long, green and tasty stalks? This is actually just one of the popular varieties of the so-called celery plant – and all forms are useful ingredients in the kitchen. Each type has a leafy green top and a similar root, but the size is where they differ. Celeriac is a root plant and has the biggest storage organ which partially grows above ground. Stalk celery, commonly known as celery, has a thick and long leafy stalk, and a small root. Chinese celery is a small herb plant that looks similar to parsley. It is mostly used to season or flavour dishes.
|Calories||30 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||2.4g carbohydrate, 5.0g fibre, 0.3g fat, 1.5g protein per 100g|
|Season||available year round|
|Storage||cool dark place in 10-12°C; ideally in a cellar|
|Shelf life||a few weeks|
Celery belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is an annual herbaceous plant that grows in the wild and mostly in saline soil. The forms mentioned above are also purposely cultivated. Wild celery was popular in both Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, and today, it can be seen worldwide. Cultivated celery began in the Mediterranean.
The seeds of both celeriac and the normal celery are generally sewn in February or March. The harvest begins in June and lasts until October. Celeriac can keep for a particularly long time in a cool cellar, whereas stalk celery should be used as fresh as possible and can be frozen to extend the storage time.
The preparation method differs depending on which variety you are working with. With celeriac for example, the preparation process is quite simple: cut off the roots and leaves with a large kitchen knife. It should now balance stably on the chopping board, allowing you to chop off the skin on the sides with a top-down motion. Make sure to remove any of the brown pieces before continuing. The celeriac leaves, when cleaned and chopped, can make a great seasoning for soups or stews.
The common celery stalks can also be easily prepared by removing the leaves and roots and dicing the stalks. Some of the tougher outer stalks may require peeling with a knife or peeler first in order to remove the inedible stringy pieces. The rest can then be finely chopped.
Whether you prefer celeriac or the stalks, celery can be enjoyed without any qualms because of its low-calorie content. In addition to this, the vegetable contains very little fat or carbohydrate, making it the perfect addition to a low-carb or low-fat diet. Celery stalks can be enjoyed raw with, for example, a hummus or quark dip. Celery is also a great addition to an Asian stir-fry cooked in a wok. Celeriac is a popular vegetable for soups as it lends broths a very particular flavour. It also makes a tasty celery puree – the perfect low-carb alternative to potato to be served with chicken or salmon.
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