The popularity of celery in various cuisines is undeniable, considering that numerous recipes utilize it in different ways. However, not a lot of people are familiar with celeriac, a tuber closely related to this herb.
These two types of food actually belong to the same plant, Apium graveolens. The only difference is that they rarely come from the same crop because each part requires different types of growing conditions, with celeriac needing a cool and moist environment.1
Celeriac is only now gaining momentum in the culinary world, as more people are becoming aware of its existence. Even though it’s relatively unknown, celeriac is 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 due to where it’s situated in the Apium graveolens plant. It’s also called a hypocotyl or a tuber instead of a root.2
The origin of the Apium graveolens plant remains unclear, but it is suspected to be the same plant mentioned in Homer’s “Odyssey” as “selinon.” Any other documentation directly pertaining to the plant itself dates back to the 16th Century, when it is believed to have been first cultivated. As for celeriac, the plant’s root, its earliest documentation was done by Swiss and Italian botanists in the 1600s. Because it’s not native to North America, it’s not well-known in the West.3
Celeriac has acquired a fair amount of creative names, like the “ugly duckling” and the “hobbit” of the vegetable world.4 Because of its gnarly and misshapen appearance, it’s joined the ranks of other “unsexy” vegetables, such as turnips and rutabaga.5
But although its outer appearance might dishearten or even repel people, there’s no reason to shut down the idea that this root may help improve your health. Some people even say that the flavor of this vegetable makes up for what its external characteristics lack.
4 Benefits You Can Get From Celeriac
Because of its dense nutritional components, celeriac can offer many potential health benefits. Some of these include:
- Suppressing Parkinson’s disease symptoms – A 2018 animal study from BioMed Central Complementary & Alternative Medicine showed that the antioxidant and neurochemical activities of the whole Apium graveolens plant may function as a supportive treatment option for Parkinson’s disease because of its protective properties on dopaminergic neurons.6
- Functioning as an antihypertensive – A 2016 study on Apium graveolens presented its possible function as a vasorelaxant. This may be due to the surplus of metabolites, including apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and coumaric acid, which are closely linked to its relaxant effects.7
- Improving bone health – Celeriac contains high amounts of vitamin K and phosphorus, which help in bone metabolism and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. 8 Vitamin K is especially important for bone health because it promotes calcium absorption and prevents bone deterioration.9
- Soothing dyspepsia symptoms – Together with Trachyspermum copticom, Apium graveolens extracts have been used in Iran as a traditional remedy for dyspepsia. In a 2017 study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, both plant extracts rivaled the effectiveness of omeprazole, which is the preferred medication of conventional physicians.10
How Do You Cook Celeriac?
Celeriac can be prepared in various ways. You can add it to salads, soup or mash. This vegetable can even be prepared as chips.11 But before knowing how to cook celeriac, you should first learn how to clean and peel it properly, which can be difficult because of its uneven and bumpy surface.
To clean celeriac, run it under cold water while using a soft brush to get rid of any dirt that may have been left on the peel.12 Afterward, follow these steps to peel the root without cutting off too much of its flesh:13
- 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.
There are endless ways to cook celeriac. But while it’s usually prepared as an ingredient in main courses, it can also be eaten raw and on its own. Celeriac is a good alternative for potatoes as well, and may be eaten either mashed or a pureed.14
Celeriac Healthy Recipes:
Celery Root and Potato Mash
If you’re a fan of mashed potatoes, you can use celeriac to upgrade your usual recipe. Here is a recipe from Bon Appétit that you can follow:15
✓ 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, raw grass fed milk
||✓ 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
- Cook celery root in a large pot of boiling salted water for five 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 one to two 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.
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:16
- 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
|Calcium 26 mg
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.17
Celeriac Is Good for You, but Be Sure to Eat Other Healthy Foods, Too
Seeing as celeriac comes from the same plant as celery, it’s no surprise that it can offer some impressive health benefits, including antihypertensive and neuroprotective effects. Adding this vegetable to your diet gives you the opportunity to acquire some of the most crucial nutrients needed to achieve optimal health.
However, note that a well-rounded diet is necessary for you to achieve good health. Make sure that you fill your everyday meal plan with nutrient-dense and healthy ingredients to strengthen your body and improve system function. Celeriac is a good choice, but it should not constitute the majority of your food intake.