The popularity of celery in various types of cuisine is undeniable, considering that a wide variety of recipes actually utilize this herb in different ways. However, not a lot of people are familiar with celeriac, a tuber that is actually closely related to this herb.
These two types of food actually belong to the same plant, the Apium graveolens, but the only difference is that they rarely come from the same crop because producers have different preferences when it comes to both celery and celeriac.1
Celeriac root is only now gaining momentum in the culinary world, as more and more people are becoming aware of its existence. Even though it’s relatively unknown, celeriac is actually loaded with vitamins and minerals that can help you maintain good health.
What Is Celeriac?
Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is usually called celery root because of its appearance and where it’s situated in the Apium graveolens plant. However, it’s also called a hypocotyl or a tuber instead of a root.
The origin of this plant is unclear, but sources say that it was originally cultivated in Italy in the 16th century.2 Because it’s not native to North America, it’s not well-known in this part of the world. In Europe, however, it’s usually noted as a staple food.3
The celeriac root has acquired a fair amount of creative names, like “ugly duckling” and the “hobbit” of the vegetable world. It has also been called the most “unsexy” vegetable due to its hairy, gnarled and uneven appearance.4
But although its outer appearance might dishearten or even repel people, there’s no reason to shut down the idea that this root can help you improve your health. Some people even say that the flavor of this vegetable makes up for what its external characteristics lack.
What Benefits Can You Get From Celeriac?
Because of its dense nutritional components, the intake of celeriac can actually offer a lot of health benefits for you. Some of these include the following:
- Maintains a healthy digestive system. Celeriac contains high amounts of dietary fiber, which is needed for proper digestion and metabolism. By keeping your digestive system in top shape, you can help prevent the development of various diseases that stem from metabolic dysfunction.5
- Helps in fighting off free radicals. This herb contains high amounts of vitamin C, which has been proven to strengthen the immune system and destroy free radicals. Free radicals are the substances in the body that have the ability to turn healthy cells into cancer cells.6
- Assists in energy production and storage. Celeriac is a good source of vitamins B6 and B5, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine, which all play a major role in macronutrient synthesis that is important for the production of energy.7
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin K is important for your body as it ensures that the calcium your body absorbs goes straight to your bones and does not become deposited in your heart valves and arteries. This prevents the development of different heart diseases and cardiovascular conditions.
Celeriac also contains a considerable amount of potassium, a mineral that helps in preventing hypertension by regulating your blood pressure.8
- Improves bone health. Celeriac contains high amounts of vitamin K and phosphorus, which help in bone metabolism and the prevention of osteoporosis. Vitamin K is especially important for bone health because it promotes calcium absorption and prevents bone deterioration.9
How Do You Cook Celeriac?
Celeriac can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can add it to salads, soup or mash. This vegetable can even be prepared as chips.
But before knowing how to cook celeriac, you should first learn how to clean it properly. This vegetable can be difficult to clean and peel because of its uneven and bumpy surface.
To clean the celeriac root, be sure that you use a soft vegetable brush to get rid of any dirt that may be left on the peel.10 Afterwards, you will want to do the following to successfully peel celeriac without cutting off too much of its flesh:11
- Place the celeriac on a clean work surface. Remove the base and the top of the vegetable.
- Carefully cut down the sides, close to the skin. Be sure you’re not wasting too much flesh left on the skin.
- When the skin is completely removed, chop or slice the flesh, depending on your preference. To avoid discoloration, soak the vegetable pieces in cold water and a few lemon slices.
People say that celeriac has a much stronger and more condensed flavor than celery. Because of this, it is usually eaten together with other strongly flavored ingredients, to neutralize it.
There are endless ways to cook celeriac. But while it’s usually cooked and prepared as an ingredient in main courses, it can also be eaten raw and on its own.12 Celeriac is a good alternative for potatoes as well, and may be eaten as either a mash or a puree.
Celeriac Healthy Recipes:
Celery Root and Potato Mash
Celeriac can be prepared in a variety of ways. Some of the more commonly known recipes include celeriac soup, celeriac puree and celeriac salad. It is also used in France as part of a remoulade.
If you’re a fan of mashed potatoes, you can use celeriac to upgrade your usual recipe. Here is a recipe from Bon Appetit that you can follow:13
|1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
||2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 1/2 cups)
||1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted raw butter, cut into pieces
||1/2 cup (or more) whole milk
|1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
- Cook celery root in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes to the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Drain.
- Return vegetables to pot. Stir over medium-high heat until dry. This usually takes 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add butter.
- Using a potato masher, mash vegetables until butter is incorporated.
- Add 1/2 cup milk. Mash until almost smooth, adding more milk as needed.
- Stir in celery leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
This recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.
Celeriac Healthy Recipes:
Celery Remoulade (Celeri Remoulade)
If you want to try Celeriac Remoulade, here is a recipe adapted from David Lebovitz. It incorporates celeriac into the century-old recipe of remoulade:14
|1 cup (20 g) homemade mayonnaise
||2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
||1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt, plus more, to taste
||2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
|Freshly-ground black pepper
||2 1/4 pounds (1kg) celeriac
- Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper together.
- Peel the celery root and grate it coarsely.
- Mix the dressing with the celery root. Add additional salt, pepper, mustard and lemon juice to taste.
Celeriac Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 100 grams
|Calories from Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Celeriac offers a variety of nutritional benefits that can help your body function optimally. Another good thing about this vegetable is its relatively low calorie content.
Celeriac is also loaded with high amounts of dietary fiber, which can limit the absorption of excess fats. This means that the intake of celeriac may aid in weight loss. This also shows that it is a deserving alternative for potatoes without the excess amount of carbohydrates and the risk of weight gain.