celeriac, celery roots, knob celery

11 Interesting Facts About Celeriac

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Introduction

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a versatile and nutrient-dense vegetable that is packed with flavor. Though it may look unassuming, this knobby, brown root vegetable hides both culinary potential and nutritional benefits.

From its origin story to its many uses in the kitchen, celeriac has much to offer. Read on for 11 fascinating facts about this underappreciated veggie. You may just gain a newfound appreciation for celeriac after learning more about its history and attributes.

Interesting Facts About Celeriac

Celeriac
Celeriac by Skånska Matupplevelser is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 .

Celeriac is a cultivar of celery that has been bred specifically to produce a large, bulbous root rather than stalks. While celeriac and celery share the same scientific name, Apium graveolens, they have been cultivated over time to highlight different parts of the plant.

2. It originated in the Mediterranean region

The early origins of celeriac can be traced back to the Mediterranean region, likely Italy. From there, celeriac was introduced as a crop in Northern Europe, especially in France, where it remains popular today.

3. You eat the root, not the leaves

Unlike most root vegetables, only the root portion of celeriac is edible. The leaves and stems contain higher levels of toxins and have an unpleasant, bitter taste. So when preparing celeriac, be sure to cut away the top portion and leaves and just use the solid, bulbous root.

4. It has a nutty, celery-like flavor

The flavor of celeriac is often described as nutty or earthy, with hints of celery-like freshness. When raw, it has more prominent herbal flavors, but when cooked, it develops a subtle, creamy sweetness. The root’s taste pairs well with creamy or starchy ingredients like potatoes or nuts.

5. Celeriac contains antioxidants

Celeriac is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These important micronutrients help neutralize free radicals and oxidative damage in the body. As such, eating celeriac may boost immunity, support healthy aging, and reduce disease risk.

6. It’s low in calories but high in fiber

celery, celery tuber, soup greens

One of the benefits of celeriac is that it’s low in calories, with only 42 calories per cup when diced. But it still packs 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup, making it highly nutritious and filling. This combination helps support weight management.

7. You can use it as a lower-carb substitute

The fiber, bulk, and texture of celeriac make it a smart substitute for higher-carb vegetables or starches. Try using it in place of potatoes for mashed celeriac, celeriac fries, or even celeriac rice. It adds great flavor with fewer carbs and calories.

8. Celeriac contains phosphorus for bones and teeth

This winter vegetable is high in phosphorus, an important mineral for healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus plays a role in bone mineralization, cell repair, and kidney function. Just one cup of celeriac contains about 10% of your recommended daily phosphorus intake.

9. It has a long shelf life

Properly stored, celeriac can last for months in cold storage without spoiling. Leave the root intact, wrap it in plastic, keep it cool, and celeriac can easily stay fresh for 2-3 months. This makes it an ideal vegetable for enjoying through the winter.

10. You can regrow celeriac from scraps

Don’t throw away those celeriac scraps! Like many root veggies, celeriac can be regrown from leftover pieces of the root. Place scraps root down in shallow water and wait for new celery-like shoots. Then plant the shoots in the soil to grow an entirely new celeriac plant.

11. It’s easy to prepare celeriac

While celeriac looks intimidating, preparing it is simple. Just use a sharp knife to remove the top portion and outer layer. Then, it can be chopped, mashed, baked, roasted, or added to soups and stews. Cleaning and cutting the root are the hardest parts – then you can enjoy its versatility.

Conclusion

This knobbly root vegetable may not be the most visually appealing, but celeriac hides immense flavor and nutrition. With facts ranging from its Mediterranean origins to its many culinary uses, the humble celeriac root has much to discover. So don’t judge this book by its cover. Give celeriac a chance and you’re sure to find a tasty new staple for your winter vegetable rotation.


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