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Celery

Celery stalks contain a relatively high amount of beta-carotene, and the leaves can be used to make pesto. Celery adds fresh flavor to a wide variety of dishes.

ʽPascalʼ celery is a common variety (var. dulce) of celery (Apium graveolens) in the Apiaceae family (celery, carrot, or parsley family). Root celery, also called celeriac, and leaf celery, also called Chinese celery, are also used in cooking. These cultivated varieties were developed from wild celery (Apium graveolens var. graveolens).

Fresh celery stalks have a pale white to yellow or light green color. Fresh stalks are crisp and if you bend them, they break easily. Celery doesnʼt usually have to be peeled, but you can peel large stalks to improve the taste.

Raw celery works well for salads or as celery sticks to dip.

General information:

From Wikipedia: “Celery (Apium graveolens), a marshland plant variety in the family Apiaceae, has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. Depending on location and cultivar, either its stalks, leaves, or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking.

Celery seed is also used as a spice; its extracts are used in medicines.”

Culinary uses:

“Celery is eaten around the world as a vegetable. In North America the crisp petiole (leaf stalk) is used. In Europe the hypocotyl is used as a root vegetable. The leaves are strongly flavoured and are used less often, either as a flavouring in soups and stews or as a dried herb. Celery, onions, and bell peppers are the "holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. ... Celery is a staple in many soups, such as chicken noodle soup.”

Celery leaves can also be used as a fresh herb or to make pesto.

Medicine:

“The use of celery seed in pills for relieving pain was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus around AD 30. Celery seeds contain a compound, 3-n-butylphthalide, which has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in rats.

Celery juice significantly reduced hypertension in 87.5% of patients (14 of 16) tested. Another study showed the same effect on hypertension associated with pregnancy.

Bergapten in the seeds can increase photosensitivity, so the use of essential oil externally in bright sunshine should be avoided. The oil and large doses of seeds should be avoided during pregnancy, as they can act as a uterine stimulant. Seeds intended for cultivation are not suitable for eating as they are often treated with fungicides.”

Nutrition and allergies:

“Celery is used in weight-loss diets, where it provides low-calorie dietary fibre bulk. Celery is often incorrectly thought to be a "negative-calorie food," the digestion of which burns more calories than the body can obtain. In fact, eating celery provides positive net calories, with digestion consuming only a small proportion of the calories taken in.”

“Celery is among a small group of foods (headed by peanuts) that appear to provoke the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. The allergen does not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures. Celery root—commonly eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks—is known to contain more allergen than the stalk. Seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis may be exacerbated. An allergic reaction also may be triggered by eating foods that have been processed with machines that have previously processed celery, making avoiding such foods difficult. In contrast with peanut allergy being most prevalent in the US, celery allergy is most prevalent in Central Europe. In the European Union, foods that contain or may contain celery, even in trace amounts, must be clearly marked as such.”

Harvesting and storage:

“Harvesting occurs when the average size of celery in a field is marketable; due to extremely uniform crop growth, fields are harvested only once. The petioles and leaves are removed and harvested; celery is packed by size and quality (determined by colour, shape, straightness and thickness of petiole, stalk and midrib length and absence of disease, cracks, splits, insect damage and rot). Under optimal conditions, celery can be stored for up to seven weeks between 0 to 2 °C (32 to 36 °F). Inner stalks may continue growing if kept at temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F).”