Celery is a marshland plant and a type of vegetable, often used in salad. They are succulent, crunchy, and it is a U shaped on the cross-section. It has a long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves. It is also known as “a bunch of celery” because it consists of 10 to 12 individual pale green stalks. Depending on location and cultivar, the celery’s stalks, leaves, or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking. Its seed is also used as a spice, and its extracts have been used in herbal medicine.
Species: A. graveolens
Binomial name: Apium graveolens
- Celery produces creamy-white flowers that are designed in the terminal inflorescence known as umbels.
- April is National Fresh Celery Month.
- It was first used as a food during the 16th century in Italy.
- Celery was first mentioned in English in 1664 by the diarist John Evelyn, who spelled it “sellery.”
- Celery was initially used as a treatment of toothache, insomnia, hypertension, anxiety, arthritis, rheumatism, and to purify the blood.
- Nibbling of its stalks helps in cleaning of the teeth and mouth after the meal.
- Celery was also used as an ancient “bouquet of flowers,” given to the winners of athletic games in Ancient Greece.
When buying celery, look for firm, green, and tightly packed stalks. They should have medium-thick ribs that are crisp enough to break easily. Check also the leaves and make sure they are not wilted, and they must have a vibrant green color. Avoid celeries that have discoloring, brown spots, or yellowing. Brown or yellow on the leaves means that the celery is a bit older. If the stalks are starting to dry at the top, turn yellow or brown, or feel soft, look for a different one.
If you’re buying pre-cut celery stalks, look for bright green stalks that feel crisp. Pay attention to the ends of the stalks. If the cut ends look a little dry, that’s fine. If the ends of the stalks look yellow or brown, shriveled, or soft, you must look for a different one.
Production & Farming in Texas
Most celery that is produced in the United States is a variant of the Pascal green type. While it is grown year-round in some countries, it is more challenging to grow than most fruits and vegetables because celery needs a lot of water, prefers cooler temperatures, and requires a longer growing season. Without proper care, celery stalks can be stringy or dry.
In the United States, California and Michigan produced most of the celery crop for the fresh market and processing into canned, frozen and dehydrated products, with California producing the majority of the total crop. In 2017, California harvested 23,500 acres of celery, producing 14.6 million cwt of celery valued at nearly $302 million. That same year, Michigan harvested 1,600 acres of celery, producing 944 thousand cwt of celery worth $12.6 million.
According to the USDA, the 2017 crop of celery totaled 15.6 million cwt, and at an average price of $20.20 per cwt, the total value of celery utilized was nearly $314 million.
Celery that is grown conventionally was observed to have up to 13 pesticides on a sample, and over 95 percent of all samples tested positive for pesticides.
Celery was originally from the Mediterranean basin. Ancient literature documents that celery, or a similar plant form, was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C. It’s claimed medicinal purposes were probably attributable to its volatile oils, contained in all portions, but mostly the seed. During ancient times Ayurvedic physicians used celery seed to treat the following conditions: colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, various types of arthritis, and liver and spleen ailments. Woven garlands of wild celery are reported to have been found in early Egyptian tombs.
Celery can be packed in a wide range of presentations. It is packaged by units in translucent, polyethylene bags, perforated and with the ends open or with the top open, and that part corresponding to the base of the plant should be a dark color to improve the presentation. Celery is also marketed in bunches or lined up in trays covered with a stretch film or even in flow-pack. They arrive at the market in shipping containers that may be wooden or cardboard boxes, generally weighing between 12 and 14kg, changing the number of plants per box depending on the size. There are different ways for different sizes in each market.
All parts of the celery are edible. It can be used in soups, side dishes, juices, and eaten by hand as a snack. It is a friend to those following a low-carbohydrate diet as it serves as an excellent vehicle for peanut butter, dips, tuna salad, etc. It also gives us a fair amount of vitamins and minerals for minimal carbohydrates and calories.
Celery must be stored in 35 degrees F at very high humidity produce drawer in the refrigerator. Keep it away from any cold spots as it freezes quickly. It can be stored in its original packaging for 1-2 weeks.
If you plan to store it longer, separate the celery stalks from the bunch, wash them, and let it dry. Cut off a small part of about 1/4-1/2 inch on the top and bottom of each stalk. Wrap it in a dry paper towel, and put it inside a Ziploc storage bag, a perforated “breathable” veggie storage bag, or punch a few holes in a Ziploc bag. It should keep it fresh for 2-4 weeks.
A very versatile ingredient, celery adds texture, color, flavor, and nutrients to meals and snacks. They are often used in the preparation of omelettes, casseroles, sauces, salads, and cocktails. It is also used to make broths, soups, and stews. Leaves are mostly used for decoration and the seasoning of dishes. Celery can be added to almost anything.
Braise, steam, or sauté celery and add it to meats such as turkey, chicken, and roasts, or chop it up and place it in side dishes, such as whole grains and stuffing. It also pairs well with proteins and can be used as a substitute for crackers and bread.
Celery is good for weight loss. It lowers high cholesterol, inflammation, and prevents or treat high blood pressure. It also helps prevent ulcers, protects liver health, boosts digestion, and reduces bloating. It contains anti-microbial properties that fight infections, helps prevent urinary tract infections, and may help protect from cancer.
Carbohydrates – Celery is very low in calories and carbohydrates. One medium stalk contains a mere six calories and 1.2 grams of carbohydrate. Half of the carbohydrate content in celery comes from fiber, making it a good source of fiber.
Protein – One stalk of celery has a minimal amount of protein, with less than one-third of a gram per serving.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A: It is essential for growth and development for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision.
Vitamin B2: It helps break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B6: It is a water-soluble vitamin that your body needs for several functions.
Vitamin C: It is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.
Vitamin K: It plays a crucial role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding.
Calcium: A mineral that is necessary for life that enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat.
Magnesium: It regulates muscle function throughout the body
Phosphorus: Our body needs phosphorus for many functions, such as filtering waste and repairing tissue and cells
Folate: It helps make DNA and produce red blood cells.
Manganese: It plays a role in the metabolism of nutrients.
When Are Celery in Season in Texas?
To find out when Celery are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.