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Celery - Stem Vegetable

Celery

Apium Graveolens Var. Dulce

Stem Vegetable

Family : Umbelliferae
Origin : Mediterranean Basin
Height : 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm)
Flowering : Summer (from the secondyear)
Properties : aperitif, purifier, digestive, diuretic, tonic
     

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What is Celery

Celery was used as a flavoring by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The ancient form resembled smallage or wild celery and it was used among other things in funeral ceremonies. Over time, the quality and taste of small age was improved through cultivation. In the 17th Century, it became a very popular nutritional plant known in Italy as celery. During the Renaissance, celery made its way to France where the new vegetable with its juicy, tender leafstalks began to be cooked as a vegetable and used as a flavoring. Today, there are several varieties of celery, like the Pascal, whose fleshy, succulent leaves are used in salads.

Celery is a plant with strong branches and bright green foliage. The plant has large, fleshy, upright leafstalks, also known as petioles, whicha re grouped on one unique stem with small roots. The white, umbel flowers appear once the plant is two years old.

Celery is cultivated in rich soil in open land with a good irrigation system. The seeds are sown in April, and in June the seedlings are replanted leaving a space of 12 inches (30 cm) between each one. After the fresh young shoots have been harvested in summer the plant blanched (i.e., deprived of light) to produce light tender shoots. There are, however, varieties that blanch naturally. The last shoots must be pulled before the frost begins; celery does not prosper in the cold. They should be stored in a cellar, where they will keep for a longer period. Celery leafstalks are cripsn juicy, slightly peppery with a characterstic strong aroma.

The nutritional value of celery is low, hardly containing any fat and proteins. The water content amounts to approximately 90% and it is rich in fiber. It also contains carotene, vitamins A and C. Because it contains vitamin E, it is said to be an aphrodisiac. Its essential oil strengthens the digestive system. It is also a vegetable that help the body eliminate toxins. The juice of the pressed leaves also have a soothing effect on rheumatism.

The seeds have a strong aroma and a slightly bitter taste. They can be used whole, or ground to a powder and used as a seasoning for salads, soups and stews, fish dishes, various sauces or tomato juice. In Scandinavia they are use dot season bread dough. Celery salt, a mixture of ground celery seeds and salt, has a brownish color and a rather intensive taste, and should therefore be used sparingly when seasoning food. Celery also keeps for a long time when stored in the fridge (particularly when wrapped in aluminium foil).

Know more about: Quinoa | Kale | Radish | Cabbage | Corn | Cauliflower | Fennel | Aubergine | Chayote | Celery

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