Although celery is available throughout the year, you will enjoy the best taste and quality of celery during the summer months when it is in season and locally grown varieties can be easily found in the markets.
Celery stalks should have a very solid feel, since softness indicates pithiness. Do not purchase celery if there are any wilted stalks, even if all others are firm. Store celery in the refrigerator. Celery lasts 7 to 10 days if not placed in water for prolonged periods.
When celery loses its crispness, place it in a pan of water with raw potato slices for a few hours. When you remove the celery, it will be crisp.
Store your celery wrapped in aluminum foil in the refrigerator -or- Slip a couple of small plastic bags over both ends. While it is in the refrigerator, it will stay fresher and crisper longer.
Celeriac is a root vegetable that looks like a turnip and is prepared like any other root vegetable. Celeriac, also called turnip rooted celery or knob celery, is grown for its globular root which has a celery-like flavor. It is usually about 4 inches in diameter at maturity.
If you can grow celery in your garden, you can grow celeriac. It requires approximately 200 days from seeding to maturity although the root is edible at any earlier stage.
Leaves can be harvested from the celeriac at any time. Pull up the roots to use when desired, usually when they are about the size of a baseball. The root must be peeled before use. Celeriac is usually eaten cooked rather than raw.
Harvest celeriac that is small since the smaller celeriac will be more tender and less woody. Trim roots and tops and store in refrigeration at 32 degrees with high humidity.
To prepare celeriac, use a sharp knife to top and tail the celeriac. Next, use a potato peeler to remove the skin. You can anticipate the need to discard about a quarter of the celeriac by the time it is completely prepared.
To cook celeriac, cut your prepared celeriac into chunks and boil in water for about 20 minutes or roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Mashed celeriac: Peel and chop celeriac into cubes and saute in olive oil with chopped garlic, fresh thyme and seasoning. Add a little boiling stock or water (3-4 tablespoons should be enough) and simmer until the celeriac is soft, then mash. Add a little butter only if desired. Add to potatoes for a half-and-half mash, if you prefer.
Celeriac spirals: Slice raw celeriac very thin and add to crunchy witner salads or slaws, Asian-inspired noodle soups or stir-fries.
Roast celeriac: Peel and chop into cubes with other root vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips. Parboil the vegetables in lightly salted water for 5 to 7 minutes, drain then cool. Toss in a roasting tray with olive oil, fresh rosemary and seasoning. Roast in a hot oven until the vegetables start to caramelize.
Celtuce is a combination of celery and lettuce which is prepared similar to cabbage.
Celtuce, also known as stem lettuce or asparagus lettuce, is grown for its thick and tender stalk with a celery-like flavor. Use the young leaves in salad or cook lightly. Stalks can be eaten fresh or cooked. Usually celtuce is stir-fried with meat, poultry or fish. In China, where it originated, it is used in soups or is pickled. The Chinese name for celtuce is "wosun".
Celtuce can be cooked like broccoli and tastes like a cross between a mild summer squash and an artichoke. Celtuce leaves can be used for salad. The stem can be stir-fried. It is best to stir-fry celtuce in strips as opposed to shreds for crispness.
Stir Fried Celtuce Recipe
Peel the skin of the celtuce stems, then cut into long strips. Chop the garlic clove and shred the ginger. Boil the strips in water for about one minute (control the time to keep the original color). Remove from the water and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok. Add the ginger, garlic and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until you can smell the garlic and peppercorn. Add the long strips of celtuce and quick fry for about one minute. Add salt to taste, mix together and serve.
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