How to Select, Store and Cook Celery?
Always choose celery that tends to snap easily, looks crisp and has bright green leaves. The stalks should be quite compact and relatively tight. Avoid buying celery that has seed stem in the center as these often taste bitter.
Store in airtight plastic bags in the refrigerator for not more than 5-7 days, as whole stems. Chop celery just before use, as studies show that by cutting up celery earlier and storing in the refrigerator might cause loss of phenolic antioxidants and changes in the flavonoid content. Avoid freezing celery as this will cause the leaves to wilt. (Read nutrition facts and benefits of celery)
COOKING IDEAS: HOW TO CONSUME CELERY?
Many people are not big fans of celery on its own as they feel that it is ‘too grainy’ or ‘too stringy’ or they just do not know how to use it! In fact celery is a very useful vegetable to have on hand as it can be added to a variety of dishes and can also be cooked by itself. Given below are some suggestions for cooking celery.
1. Have it Raw:
- Eating fresh raw celery sticks whenever you are hungry is an excellent ways to shed those extra kilos.
- Spread low cal almond or peanut butter along the groove of a celery stick for a perfect treat.
- You could also make a juice by combing raw celery with other greens or vegetables for a healthy and refreshing drink.
2 cups spinach
1 celery stalk
Blend together in a juicer by adding water.
Because celery isn’t overpowering, it allows the spinach and cucumber juices to stand out. Spinach is a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium.
2. Stir fried Celery:
Heat a tablespoon of canola or sesame oil in a wok. Add a couple of dried red chilies, and after they start sputtering, add juliennes of celery stalks. Once the celery stalks get slightly cooked add 2-3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce. Enjoy the crunchy taste of stir fried celery.
3. Add celery in stews:
Adding celery to stews along with other vegetables enhances the flavor of the stew.
4. Flavor your dish with celery leaves:
Celery leaves, finely chopped, could be used to garnish various dishes.
5. Add celery in your soup:
A warm winter favorite, celery soup has a lot of flavor, is very creamy and very easy to make.
How to make Celery soup
1 head of celery
1 onion peeled and chopped
15 gms butter
900 ml water or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, heat butter and fry onions for about 5 minutes
- Add chopped celery (stalks and leaves) and fry for another 10 minutes
- Pour stock/water and allow to simmer for 20 minutes
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Season with salt and pepper
- Blend in a mixer until smooth
- Reheat the soup till it is just nicely warmed
CELERY FACTS AND TRIVIA
- Garlands made of celery leaves were found in the tomb of the great Pharaoh of Egypt, Tutankhamen who died in 1323 BC.
- The word ‘celery’ comes from the Greek word ‘selinon’, and there is also a reference to it in The Odyssey by Homer.
- Celery stalks (what we usually associate celery with nowadays) were not commonly eaten till the beginning of the 17th century.
- The ancient Greeks used celery to make wine, which was served at athletic games as awards.
- In ancient Rome celery was worn around the neck of revelers and party goers, to ward off a hangover. Perhaps that is where the tradition of adding a stalk of celery in a Bloody Mary came from!!
- At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the emperor Charlemagne passed an edict making it essential for all Imperial Gardens to grow culinary and medicinal herbs. Celery was mentioned on this list and that is how this plant spread throughout Europe.