Discovering Celeriac

Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum), is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots. Both celeriac and celery belong  to the Apiaceae family, along with other mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems and umbrella-like flower clusters. Included in this family are anise, caraway, carrot, chervil, coriander (including cilantro), cumin, fennel, hemlock, Queen Anne’s lace, parsleydill, and parsnip.

Celeriac is derived from wild celery, which has a small, edible root and has been used in Europe since ancient times. Celery has been cultivated as an edible plant for thousands of years.

There are references to celeriac dating back to the 17th century, when Mediterranean gardens began to breed a form of it. Celeriac spread from the Mediterranean into northern Europe, particularly Germany. From Germany, it spread to France, where it appeared in salads, soups, and other dishes as a main ingredient or a garnish.

Celeriac was a novelty vegetable in 19th-century America among avant-garde gardeners and cooks. It had the taste of celery but was easier to grow. It was therefore a more convenient, cheaper way to supply the fresh, distinctive celery flavor. In addition, celeriac kept for months, while ordinary celery wilted, rotted, or desiccated within weeks of harvest. Only the root bulb and leaves of celeriac were used for food; stalks were discarded.

Today celeriac is popular in France (where it is used in the classic dish céleri rémoulade) and Italy.

Celeriac can:

  1. Build strong bodies. The vitamin K in celeriac helps protect your bones from fracture, and helps prevent postmenopausal bone loss. The vitamin C in celeriac helps produce collagen, which supports strong bones, muscles, blood vessels, gums, mucous membranes, corneas, joints, and other supporting cells and tissues, helps you absorb iron and calciumPhosphorus in celeriac helps in the formation of bones and teeth, helps you use carbohydrates and fats and synthesize protein, and helps with energy storage, muscle contraction, kidney function, and nerve conduction. Potassium in celeriac regulates muscle contraction and nerve transmission, stores carbohydrates for muscles to use as fuel, promotes regular muscle growth, and maintains the density and strength of bones by decreasing urinary calcium loss. Manganese in celeriac activates enzymes for using several key nutrients; helps synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol, and facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism and formation of bone. The vitamin B6 in celeriac supports a wide range of activities in your nervous system, promotes proper breakdown of sugars and starches.
  2. Fight free radicals. The vitamin C in celeriac functions as an antioxidant and prevents oxygen-based damage to your cells; helps return vitamin E to its active form. Manganese in celeriac is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within your cells).
  3. Promote cardiovascular health. The vitamin K in celeriac allows your blood to clot normally and helps prevent calcification of your arteries. Phosphorus in celeriac helps promote a regular heartbeat. Potassium in celeriac regulates heart rythym and lowers blood pressure by counteracting the detrimental effects of sodium and regulating fluid balance. The vitamin B6 in celeriac helps prevent homocysteine build-up in your blood, which can protect you from cardiovascular disease.
  4. Fight cancer. The vitamin K in celeriac provides possible protection against liver and prostate cancer. The vitamin C in celeriac helps prevent cancer by neutralizing volatile oxygen free radical molecules and preventing damage to your DNA that can lead to cancer and by destabilizing a tumor’s ability to grow under oxygen-starved conditions.
  5. Support your immune system. The vitamin C in celeriac supports your immune system, processes toxins for elimination, and acts as an antihistamine.

Nutrients in 100 Grams of Raw Celeriac

Nutrient

Amount

Daily Value

vitamin K

41 µg

51%

vitamin C

8 mg

13%

phosphorus

115 mg

12%

potassium

300 mg

9%

manganese

0.2 mg

8%

vitamin B6

0.2 mg

8%

fiber

1.8 g

7%

magnesium

20 mg

5%

calcium

43 mg

4%

sodium

100 mg

4%

niacin

0.7 mg

4%

iron

0.7 mg

4%

pantothenic acid

0.4 mg

4%

riboflavin

0.1 mg

4%

copper

0.1 mg

4%

carbohydrates

9.2 g

3%

protein

1.5 g

3%

thiamine

0.1 mg

3%

choline

9 mg

2%

folate

8 µg

2%

Calories

42

2%

zinc

0.3 mg

2%

fat

0.3 g

0.5%

cholesterol

0 mg

0%

You can purchase celeriac year-round in some larger supermarket chains and in specialty grocery stores.

Choose only those celeriac roots that are firm and small to medium-sized (up to 3.5 inches in diameter), because smaller roots are more flavorful. Although celeriac stalks and leaves are not typically eaten, choose celeriac with leaves that are green and that are not wilted.

At home, remove the stalks and leaves. You can then store celeriac in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Use celeriac in recipes that call for celery. It is especially good in soups and stews or when cooked and accompanied by potatoes. When you are ready to use celeriac, wash the root thoroughly in water, then peel its outer skin. You can then cut it into pieces and add it, raw, to a salad or, slice it into sections and boil it. You can also bake it whole, in its skin, and eat the inner flesh like a potato. Celeriac pairs well with allspice, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, nutmeg, paprika, and thyme.


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this blog to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

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