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Friday, July 27, 2007

Celeriac (Celery Root)

This week's adventures in trying unfamiliar produce has lead me to celeriac, or celery root. This variety of celery is cultivated specially for its edible root. Celeriac's swollen, knobby external appearance often scares off beginners. However, once peeled, it is a nutritious healthy vegetable with more natural flavor than most root vegetables. I am experimenting with substituting celeriac in where I would otherwise tend to use potatoes. In addition to supplying a delightful and novel taste, these root vegetables provide more nutrients and two-thirds less calories than the traditional 'spud.

One cup of this root vegetable (cooked) has only 42 calories per cup (155 g), no fat and 2 grams of fiber. It is also a good source of calcium and potassium. It possesses an excellent combination of nutrients and factors that will make you feel full. If you are on a sodium restricted diet, however, beware. A one cup portion of this vegetable raw or cooked has around 100mg of sodium.

When selecting a celery root, look for one that is small but firm. Smaller roots tend to be more tender. Roots larger than a softball are more likely to be rough and woody inside. Soft spots indicate rot. You may also prefer to find one that has less trailing roots.

So far, I have found that boiled or sauteed celeriac works well in situations where I would tend to serve boiled potatoes, such as a side dish for a very flavorful main course. I intend to try a mashed potato recipe that is half potato (for texture) and half celeriac (for flavor and health). Compare the nutritional information of these two root vegetables and see for yourself:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You compare the nutrient panels of the potato and celery, suggesting that celery root is healthier. When comparing the data, the potato may have more carbohydrates than the celery root, but per 100 grams it has more fiber, vitamin C, and less fat and sodium than the celery root. Carbohydrates are required for energy production, so skimping on the carbohydrates by opting for the celery root will leave you looking for something sweet by the time dinner is over. My suggestion would be to use them both, for all of their positive nutrient benefits. Neither vegetable is more superior to the other

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