What Is Celeriac?

Explains what celeriac is and details its nutritional benefits. Also provides information on how to use celeriac.

Celeriac is a vegetable that is a member of the celery family. However, only its root is used for cooking purposes. Also known as celery root, knob celery, and turnip rooted celery, celeriac has a taste that is similar to a blend of celery and parsley. Additionally, celeriac is grown similarly to celery, as its seeds are sown outdoors in the spring then the vegetable harvested when its roots are developed.

Celeriac was originally grown in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Today, the vegetable is still popular for use among the peoples who inhabit these areas. Although celeriac is not as commonly used in the United States as it is in other countries, you can still purchase celeriac year-round in some larger supermarket chains and in specialty grocery stores. Additionally, if you would like to grow celeriac in your own garden, you can purchase celeriac seeds in many garden centers.

When purchasing fresh celeriac from a store, you can identify the celeriac by its large, bulbous root that grows to an average of 3.5 inches in length. Rough green stalks surround this root, which is light brown in color. When selecting a celeriac to purchase, choose only those with firm and small to medium-sized roots. Selecting smaller roots is advantageous because smaller roots produce a more flavorful root taste. Additionally, although celeriac stalks and leaves are typically not eaten, make sure that the celeriac you purchase has leaves that are green and that are not wilted. Once you have purchased your celeriac, you can safely store it in your home for up to one week provided that you remove its stalks and leaves first and store the root in your refrigerator.

Because celeriac can be used in recipes that call for celery, its use is limitless. It is, however, especially good when used as an ingredient in soups and stews or when cooked and accompanied by potatoes as a side dish. Note that whenever you are ready to use the celeriac, you must first wash the root thoroughly in water then peel its outer skin. You can then use the celeriac for cooking purposes, for example, cutting it into pieces that can be added, raw, to a salad or, slicing it into sections that can be boiled and used as an accompaniment to an entrée. Celeriac can also be baked, whole, in its skin. Once baked, you can remove its skin and eat its inner flesh.

Throughout Europe, celeriac is a popular vegetable to use in cooking because of its diversity and because of its nutritional benefits. A 1/2 cup of celeriac, which is approximately 112 grams, contains only 30 calories. Additionally, celeriac contains no cholesterol or fat and provides an excellent source of dietary fiber. Because of its taste and consistency, it is also a flavorful additional to meals that require lower calories or certain dietary restrictions.

Celeriac is a vegetable that can be used in many dishes especially where its celery-like flavor is warranted. Thus, it will continue to be a staple among European culinary circles and is now a welcome addition to American kitchens as well.

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