Okay, so celery root may not win any produce beauty contests but don’t be frightened off, it’s a terrific veggie that is well worth exploring!
Often underrated and mistaken to be the root portion of celery stalks, celery root (aka celeriac) is its own special being. This knobby, bumpy-looking cool season root vegetable is light and bright on the inside offering an herbal, floral, slightly nutty flavor with the texture of potatoes.
Originating in the Mediterranean, celery root belongs to the same plant family as carrots. It is still widely found there growing wild and by commercial growers, as well as in Northern Europe, Siberia, North Africa, Southwest Asia, and North America.
WHY I LIKE IT
- Celery root is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as B6, C, K, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium) that support heart, gut, blood, and bone health and has anti-cancer properties.
- It is a low-carb, low-calorie, less starchy root vegetable that can be served raw or cooked.
- Celery root’s distinctive flavor is not overpowering and nicely compliments proteins and other vegetables.
- It plays nicely with many different herb and warm spice seasonings.
SELECT and STORE
Celery root can usually be found year-round in grocery stores, but the peak season is from September to April.
It is normal for the outside of celery root will look hairy, bumpy, and even dirty. Select smaller-sized bulbs – about the size of a baseball or grapefruit – that are firm, do not have soft spots, feel slightly heavy for their size, and have a greenish undertone on the skin. Larger celery root bulbs tend to be more fibrous and less flavorful.
Store celery root loosely wrapped in the refrigerator, or other cool, dark place, for 3 – 4 weeks. Cooked celery root can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Celery root does not freeze well unless part of a soup, stew, or another dish.
PREP and USE
Prep celery root by first washing and drying the outside thoroughly, then trimming the ends and peeling the sides. Give the peeled bulb a rinse under cold water, and pat dry before cutting further into the desired shape for your use – sliced, julienned, diced, shredded, or peeled into ribbons. When cut, the inside of the celery root bulb should have a creamy white, faint yellow tone. Brown spots can be cut away.
Celery root tends to turn brown quickly so if not used immediately, either rub a cut lemon over the uncut bulb or place the cut pieces into a large bowl and cover with lemon water (1 teaspoon lemon juice per 1 cup of cold water).
You may also wish to check out these helpful prepping resources –
- Guides for preparing celery root from The Kitchn and Cooks Illustrated
- Top-rated vegetable peeler – OXO Pro Y Peeler
Celery root is quite versatile – use it in soups, stews, latkes, raw in salads and slaws, mashed or pureed, cut and roast in the shape of french fries, served on its own or paired with other vegetables.
To maintain the highest nutrient value, avoid boiling celery root. As with other vegetables, boiling causes nutrients to be lost in the cooking water which is drained away. To lock in the most nutrients, use one of the following methods –
- simmer or braise in a liquid that is not drained away such as in a soup, stew, sauce or gravy
- serve raw
Try this Potato-Celery Root Mash as an accompaniment to roasted or braised meats, grilled seafood, or other vegetables. The light herb, floral flavor profile in celery root really brightens up traditional mashed potatoes.
Have you tried celery root? Share how you enjoy eating it in the comments section.
Main photo: iStock