It’s time to get excited about celery! This skinny green vegetable has been hidden in the shadows for way too long. It’s a workhorse when you think about it, adding flavor and crunch to many dishes in many different cuisines. It’s so special in fact that March has been named National Celery Month.
So what’s so special about this crunchy vegetable? For one thing, you can use the entire vegetable – stalks, leaves, seeds and root. The French use it in their Mirepoix – a mixture of celery, onions and carrots used as a base to flavor soups and stews. They also enjoy Potage au celeri, a celery soup made with potatoes, celery and heavy cream. Celery seed is easily found in the herb and spice section of the grocery store to be used for flavoring potato salad cole slaw and bread and butter pickles.
We Americans wouldn’t dream of enjoying a bloody mary without a stalk of celery in the glass and what would hot wings be without it accompanied by ranch and blue cheese dip? And don’t throw out the celery leaves! In Martha Stewart’s new book “Very Good Things” she suggests making celery leaf ice cubes to pop into bloody mary’s, gimlets and tonics. They will give a hint of celery flavor to you cocktails as the cubes melt.
Plus it is nutritious. According to Today.com, it is rich in fiber, vitamin k, folate and potasium. And it is the first thing we reach for when we begin a weight loss diet with only 14 calories per cup.
Chances are you’ve never heard of a celery martini. Sauver magazine has a fabulous recipe for this bright savory cocktail – combining fresh celery, lemon juice, Lillet and gin. Another better known celery based cocktail is the Southern Exposure made with gin and celery juice.
Now to get to the root of the matter, celery root is known as celeriac. It makes a delicious slaw and can be cooked, roasted and mashed. Myrecipes.com noted that possibly the most famous use of celeriac was in Julia Child’s Celery Root Remoulade. Chef Julia explained her love of this vegetable, “Underneath the brown, wrinkled exterior of celery root there is white flesh with a bright celery flavor and crisp texture that, when finely shredded, makes a delicious slaw like salad.”
Are you excited about celery? Any new recipes you’d like to try celebrating celery during National Celery Month?