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All about “Celeriac / Celery root”

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Health profile of celeriac


The celeriac is a vegetable to the delicate flavor which deserves to be better known. Raw or cooked , it is particularly appreciated in winter , like all root vegetables . It contains several vitamins and minerals , particularly of vitamin K .


The benefits of celeriac

  • Cancer . Researchers have demonstrated that celeriac extracts contain polyacetylenes, compounds that destroy certain cancer cells in vitro 3 . These results are preliminary and other studies will need to be carried out to find out more about the relationship that may exist between celeriac consumption and cancer. 
  • Bone health . In adults, bone mass decreases with age, leading to a higher risk of fractures . A study has shown that adding dried and powdered celery root to the rodent diet inhibits loss of bone mass (absorption) 4 . Without knowing the exact nature of the compounds present in the dried vegetable, the authors emphasize that a variety of bioactive substances could act synergistically, thus making it possible to reduce bone loss. To date, no studies have been done to this effect in humans.

Several epidemiological studies have shown that high consumption of vegetables and fruits lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease 10 , certain cancers 11 and other chronic diseases , 2,12 . The many phytochemicals found in vegetables may, in part, explain this association.

What does celeriac contain?

Celeriac and other foods in the apiaceae family, such as parsley and parsnip, are said to contain polyacetylenes in sufficient quantities to show beneficial biological effects, for example on cancer cells 3 . However, considerable variations can occur in the quantities of polyacetylenes contained in these vegetables, depending on their cultivation and storage methods.

Main vitamins and minerals

Excellent source Vitamin K Raw celeriac is an excellent source of vitamin K.
Source Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) Raw celeriac is a source of vitamin B5.
Source Vitamin B6 Celeriac (raw and boiled) is a source of vitamin B6.
Source Vitamin C Raw celeriac is a source of vitamin C.
Source Copper Raw celeriac is a source of copper .
Source Manganese Raw celeriac is a source of manganese .
Source Phosphorus Celeriac (raw or boiled) is a source of phosphorus .



The consumption of celeriac can induce allergic symptoms in those already allergic to pollen, including those of the birch and the sagebrush 5 . The major allergen of birch pollen would initiate the sensitization of the major allergen of celery, hence the possible cross- reaction 6 . This phenomenon has been observed particularly in Europe and cross-reactions with other allergenic sources may or may not occur, depending on the individual 7 . In addition, some celeriac allergens are heat resistant 8 . So you have to remember that cooking celery root does not completely remove its allergenic properties.

In the United Kingdom , celeriac is classified in the group of allergens related to celery and is compulsorily declared on the labels of processed products, in the same way as nuts, soy, etc. 9 . This is not currently the case in Canada.

Recipe ideas

Celery root remoulade


If necessary, cut the stems and the surface roots. Peel the celeriac apple and remove the eyes with the tip of a knife. Cut into quarters and put in lemon water or rub with half a lemon to prevent the flesh from darkening.

If you have trouble digesting raw celeriac, grate it very thin or cook it.

The dried leaves can be used for spices, such as parsley .

with celeriac

  • Dip . Cut the root into sticks and blanch for a few minutes in the steam. Cool under cold water and serve with other vegetables and the sauce of your choice.
  • In a peasant soup with turnips, leeks and potatoes. Cut all the vegetables into cubes, brown them in oil and cook them over low heat until they are tender. Add milk or yogurt, and serve garnish with thin slices of Swiss cheese.
  • In couscous , with other root vegetables.
  • Celery remoulade sauce . A classic! Grate the celeriac and, if desired, steam it for a few minutes. Prepare a well “mustard” mayonnaise and mix thoroughly with the celeriac. Add capers and minced pickles. If you prefer a less rich version, replace the mayonnaise with yogurt. Serve with grated apples or carrots and a lemon vinaigrette.

Aphrodisiac, celeriac?
This is what this proverb from the south of France affirms: “If a woman knew the virtue of celery on a man, she would plant it from Paris to Rome”. This goes for rave!
  • Fresh salad . Grate it and steam it for ten minutes. Refresh under cold water and drain. Serve with a sauce made from yogurt, mustard, salt and pepper. Garnish with watercress fluff or dill leaves.
  • Warm salad . Cut the root into sticks and brown in butter or oil. Serve with dry roasted nuts, chopped onion and a vinaigrette.
  • Mashed . Cook celeriac until tender in boiling salted water with lemon juice. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes with their skin in boiling salted water. Peel the potatoes and pound or grind each of the two vegetables separately while they are still hot. Add butter and boiling milk to the potatoes and beat the mash. Then add the celeriac. Season with salt and pepper and add a little boiling milk if necessary. If desired, garnish with the finely chopped olives and grated Gruyère cheese and bake for 15 minutes in the oven.
  • In the oven . Cut the celeriac and other root vegetables into quarters. Brush the quarters with olive oil using a brush. Add a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary and garlic in a shirt, and roast in the oven. Add salt and pepper.
  • As an accompaniment . Cut the celeriac into small cubes that you will brown in oil or butter with honey, vinegar and a little water in which we will have soaked saffron. Cook until the celery is tender and nicely colored yellow (10 to 15 minutes). Salt, pepper and serve with meat, fish or seafood.
  • Dauphinoise-style gratin . Cut the potatoes and celeriac into slices, place them in a baking dish, alternating them. Add milk and cream, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and bake for one hour.
  • Lactofermented . Serve in a salad, without cooking it.

The little story of celeriac

Common name: celeriac.
Scientific name: Apium graveolens var. rapaceum .                                           
Family: apiaceae (synonym: umbelliferae)

Celery was first called ”  ache  “, a word that appeared in the language in the XII th  century and is derived from the Latin Apia , plural apium . It means “which grows in water”, in reference to the natural habitat of the plant. Originally, it designated a fairly large group of plants (including parsley and lovage) before adopting the restricted meaning of “celery”.

Appearing much later in the French language (in 1651), ”  celery  ” derives from the Lombard seleri , from the Latin selenon . This name recalls that the plant was supposed to be under the influence of the moon (selected), possibly in reference to the aphrodisiac properties that were attributed to it. The term ”  celery  ” has definitively replaced “ache” in everyday parlance, although the latter is still occasionally used in herbalism and botany.

The term ”  rave  ” is a generic term which means “root” and which designates the vegetable plants whose root is eaten.

Celery comes from the Mediterranean basin, more specifically from the salt marshes that border the Mediterranean. It was known to the Greeks of Antiquity, if we are to believe Homer’s Odyssey , written 850 years before our era. However, as it was then called under the name selenon , which was also attributed to other plants, it cannot be said with certainty that it is indeed celery which Homer mentioned in his writings.

Five hundred years before our era, the Chinese used it in cooking. As for the Egyptians, they harvested both the leaves and stems and the seeds which served as seasoning.

For centuries, even millennia, celery will appear in the form of a bouquet with little developed stems and roots. The plant is reminiscent of parsley and, like it, serves as a spice , given its pronounced flavor. The big guy to root as it is today will be selected at the XVII th  century. A century later, it is common in Europe. In North America, it was only adopted recently and remains relatively unknown to the general public.

The seeds have been prized for a very long time in Asia, where they are attributed medicinal properties. In the West, it has been used to prepare celery salt . However, this popular condiment is now made with an extract from the root.

Organic gardening

The celeriac is grown more easily than the celery, which makes it a favorite of home gardeners. It prefers soils rich in organic matter because their water retention capacity is high. In the fall before cultivation, good quantities of manure or compost are buried in the border.

Celeriac is sensitive to boron deficiencies . If necessary, apply before cultivation. Be careful, as it is a trace element, only small quantities are needed.

pH: 5.2 to 6.5.

As its growth is slow, it should be started indoors at the end of winter (late February, mid March). Transplant in individual containers when the plants are 3 cm to 5 cm high, then in the garden when they have reached 10 cm to 13 cm and the temperatures are above 13 ° C (early June in the south of Quebec). Plants that are exposed to lower temperatures for more than 2 weeks may go to seed. Below 7 ° C, it is only after a few days that the rise can occur.

Spacing in the garden: from 15 cm to 20 cm between plants, from 36 cm to 50 cm between rows. Or, in flower beds, from 15 cm to 20 cm in all directions.

Irrigation: greedy in water, celeriac requires frequent and abundant watering. Pay special attention to irrigation during the 6 weeks before harvest. Preferably choose drip systems to limit the risk of leaf diseases.

During the season, spray a foliar fertilizer (fish and algae emulsion) every 2 weeks and water a few times with a vegetable manure.

Insects and diseases: In the family vegetable garden, insects should not be a problem. If necessary, they are checked with a textile for agricultural use. Celeriac is not very susceptible to diseases.

Towards the end of summer, cut the low stems to encourage the growth of the root.

Less fragile in the cold than the celery branch, celeriac can tolerate light gels. You can extend your stay in the garden by a few weeks by covering the entire plant with a textile for agricultural use.

Ecology and environment

In some circles of gardeners, it has long been believed that the combination of leek and celery or leek and celeriac in the garden is beneficial for the 2 plants. This belief has been confirmed by researchers 13 . Their study shows that the cultivation in combination of celeriac and leek has the effect of reducing the populations of insects attacking each plant and slightly reducing weeds. In addition, it made it possible to obtain slightly higher yields for the 2 plants.

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