A trip to your local farmer’s market is like opening the floodgates to a whole new world of produce you never knew existed. Purple daikon, kohlrabi, black turnips, and dozens of varieties of apples that you’ve never even heard of… For the veggie lover, it’s an exciting time too. One of the vegetables you may find is a light brown, bulbous vegetable called celeriac. Celeriac may not be the most gorgeous veggie to look at, but if you happen to find this at your local farmer’s market or the grocery store, give it a try because you won’t regret it.
What is Celeriac and How to Pick and Store it?
Celeriac, also known as turnip-rooted celery, knob celery, or celery root, is a typw of bulbous root vegetable. It comes from the Mediterranean basin and in Northern Europe, where it grows in the wild and is cultivated for commercial sale. Celeriac can be anywhere between 4 to 5 1/2 inches in diameter.
When selecting celeriac, choose one that has fresh, green leaves, feels heavy for its weight and avoid vegetables that have soft spots or several small roots sprouting from it. Celeriac has a long shelf life, but steps should be taken to ensure that you are storing it the right way. Right after you bring celeriac home, cut off the stalks that sprout from the top and any of the little “rootlets” that are sprouting from the bulb. Seal your celeriac in a plastic bag and store it in the low humidity crisper drawer of your refrigerator to ensure optimal freshness. When stored right, celeriac may keep for several months.
Mature celeriac has a starchy flesh, similar to potatoes, and a flavor that has been described as a cross between celery leaves and parsley. Celeriac is low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper, and manganese. Like potatoes, celeriac can be roasted whole, mashed, cut into fries and baked, or it can be eaten raw.
When you are ready to cook celeriac, it is advised that you peel it, then soak it briefly in water with a drop of vinegar or lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
If celeriac is completely new to you, start with the easy recipes. Boil it, then mash it like you would potatoes as in this Potato and Celery Root Mash, where potatoes and celeriac are mashed together. Or try this Herbed Celeriac Purée With Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms, which is made from cauliflower and celeriac paired with fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage and meaty sautéed mushrooms. You can also make celeriac fries, as in these Crispy Oil-Free Celeriac Fries.
Celeriac’s starchy texture makes it a great choice for puréed soups, too. In this Creamy Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup, the vegetables and aromatics are cooked on the stovetop in a Dutch oven before being puréed into a thick, creamy soup. Or, try this Potato, Leek, and Celeriac Soup, where all three vegetables are blended with a handful of spinach for a fresh taste and then finished off with macadamia nut cream and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. And in this simple Leek and Celeriac Soup, the vegetables are simply cooked in broth with thyme and garlic, then puréed. An immersion blender is recommended for all three of these soups, as it saves you the trouble of transferring the soup to your blender of food processor.
Like potatoes, celeriac is great in casseroles. This Root Veggie au Gratin is a new take on the classic potato gratin, swapping out potatoes for celeriac, parsnip, rutabaga, and turnips. For something less involved, try this Cheesy Leek and Celeriac-Potato Gratin.
You can also roast celeriac whole, like cauliflower. This Whole Roasted Celeriac With Herbs, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt is simple to make, but looks amazing on any table. Or try something more complex, like this Celeriac Stack, where celeriac is steamed, sliced, then served with sautéed chard, kale, green peas, and topped with dukkah, an Egyptian condiment that is a blend of nuts, herbs, and spices. In this Celeriac Schnitzel With Mushroom Sauce, raw celeriac is sliced, breaded, then pan-fried until crispy.
Try celeriac raw; slice it thin and add it to salads or spiralize it and use it in this Carrot and Celeriac Noodle Salad. You could also spiralize it, then pair it with raw vegan sauce, such as the pesto in this Basil Pesto Raw Zucchini Pasta. Or try it with the sauce in this Raw Zucchini Marinara Pasta. Speaking of Italian dishes, celeriac can be made into veggie “meatballs,” too. These Celeriac Meatballs in Rosemary Tomato Sauce would pair perfectly with any pasta.
Where to Buy
Celeriac is uncommon outside of Europe, but it is not impossible to find. It is typically in season from July through March. Check your local farmer’s market or any grocery store that carries lesser known produce, like Whole Foods. Or, you can plant your own! These Heirloom Celeriac Seeds are a great way to get started. One packet of 100 seeds costs $2.99; just be sure to get the seeds started by the middle of February, as celeriac can take a long time to germinate.
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