Recipe for Category Food Tips, Hints & Articles
Contributed by Jennifer Peachey
Webster defines celery as “a biennial plant of the Parsley family, whose long, crisp leaf-stalks are eaten as a vegetable.” I have always defined them as “why-bother” vegetables with their understated flavour and stringy texture. However, there are many reasons to bother eating this simple plant. Celery is an excellent source of potassium and contains magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and E. Celery is a diuretic and aids in eliminating carbon dioxide from the body. It is good for arthritis, stimulating the appetite, enhancing memory and weight reduction. But that’s not all!
Celery is said to have a relaxing effect as it contains ingredients that reduce the level of hormones associated with stress. Celery is also a good brain tonic and good for dizziness and headaches. It is low in calories (20 calories for two stalks) and provides the sodium needed to neutralize the acids in the body. Celery might have a subtle flavour but it has an obvious impact on the body.
If, like myself, you do not enjoy munching on a crunchy celery stick, there are many ways to make them more palatable. Celery is easy to prepare: simply trim the base; wash the stalks under running water and cut into desired lengths. Raw celery can then be stuffed with cheeses, a seafood mixture, cooked eggs or even peanut butter (see below). Along with the leaves, it can be added to salads and to sandwiches.
Celery can be cooked into almost any dish – soups, sauces, stews, pasta, tofu, quiches, omelets and rice. It can be served as a side vegetable, either braised or baked and topped with a sauce. The leaves can be added to these cooked dishes as well.
Keep celery in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag or standing in a dish of cold water. Do not store peeled or cut celery in water, however, as this draws out the nutrients. Left at room temperature, celery begins to dehydrate and wilt. So don’t wait too long to enjoy the many benefits of celery.
*Note: Want to try a fun science experiment with celery? Visit www.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Science/celery.html and have some non-culinary fun with the kids!