Nobbly on the outside but sensational on the inside…
Celeriac, also called turnip-rooted celery, celery root, or knob celery is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots.
Celeriac (or celery root) and celery are members of the same family of vegetables, but celeriac is not the root of the vegetable you buy called celery. This vegetable is cultivated for its root or base instead of for its stalk or leaves.
The unsung hero of the vegetable world, the knobbly, odd-shaped celeriac has a subtle, celery-like flavour, with nutty overtones.
Health benefits of celeriac
Celeriac contains multiple nutrients that may offer health benefits, as part of a healthy diet, including:
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- vitamin B-6
Celeriac originated in Mediterranean and North European countries. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians used it for medicinal and religious purposes. Scientists first wrote about it as food in the 1600s, and it remains popular throughout Europe.
When is it available?
Celeriac is available year-round but is at its best from September to April.
If you’ve avoided buying celeriac because you’re not sure what to do with it, here’s a delicious recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table.
Celeriac with winter vegetables, cooked in olive oil – Zeytintağlı Kereviz
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes
2-3 small celeriac, peeled and cut into small chunks
30ml/2 tablespoons peas, fresh or frozen
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
5 small shallots, peeled or 1 small onion, chopped
120ml/4 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz/1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and sugar to taste
Fresh dill to garnish
To prevent discolouration during the preparation, keep the raw celeriac in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut each one into small chunks.
Cook the peas separately until tender and put to one side.
Drain the celeriac chunks and place them in a heavy pan together with the other prepared vegetables. Add the olive oil, water, a little sugar (perhaps 1/2 teaspoon), season with salt. Give them all a good stir, cover and cook on low to medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked peas and the juice of lemon, combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Finally, add a little chopped dill, heat through and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Serve the celeriac with vegetables warm at room temperature, with a little garnish of dill over and a wedge of lemon by the side.
This article was first published on 25 February 2021.