Apium graveolens var. rapaceum
Family Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)
Also known as turnip-rooted celery, knob celery, celery ‘root’.
Celeriac is the variety of celery cultivated for its thickened edible stem known as a hypocotyl. Although it’s commonly referred to as a ‘root’ vegetable, celeriac is not a true root.
It grows half in the ground and half above, and from the apex, a rosette of leaves is produced with a fibrous root system produced below.
The fibrous roots have a cream-coloured edible flesh with a characteristic celery flavour.
The leaves resembles that of celery but are coarse and inedible. The small fibrous stalks are also inedible.
Typically, celeriac is harvested when the hypocotyl is 10–14 cm (4-5.5 inches) in diameter. It was popular winter crop because the swollen stem could be stored for months and used as a main ingredient in soup. It’s a favourite vegetable in France and Italy
Celeriac is commonly grown in Europe. it can be grown successfully on a wide range of soil types providing that they are free-draining.
Celeriac is low in calories. 100g (3.5oz) has about 25 calories. The key nutrients are Vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.
- Celeriac has a crisp texture and an intense celery flavour, and can be eaten raw, in salads or cooked.
- It can be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed.
- Sliced celeriac is commonly used as an ingredient in soups, casseroles, and other savoury dishes.
- It can also be grated or julienned into matchsticks and used raw in salads or as a crudite, with creamy yoghurt dressing or dip.
- When celeriac is cooked with potato they compliment one another. The two can be cooked together. You can mash them if you want.
- Celeriac boils in 20 minutes and roasts in around 40 minutes when cut into rough-shaped chunks.
How to Buy Celeriac
- Look for smallish, heavy and firm celeriac ‘roots’. The outside may be dirty but it should be free of deep dents, cuts or soft spots.
- If the stem and leaves are attached, they should be fresh and green.
How to Prepare Celeriac
- Celeriac needs to be scrubbed well before being prepared for cooking. It can be baked in it’s skin then peeled.
- Use a sharp knife, to top and tail the celeriac, then use a potato peeler to remove the rhino-tough skin. Expect to discard about a quarter of the celeriac by the time you’ve done this.
- Chop or slice into desired shape and size.
- Like apples and potatoes, celeriac discolours quickly after peeling, so you should immerse the cut pieces in a bowl of water, with a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of white wine vinegar added (also known as ‘acidulated water’). (is this necessary?)
Storage of Celeriac
Store celeriac in the salad crisper of your fridge before use.
Celeriac is available year round but is at its best from September to April.