Celery root can be grown anywhere that celery can. The bulb is ready for harvesting about 200 days after the seed has been planted. The plant’s leaves have the same flavour as the root, and you can clip off some of those for use at any time during the plant’s growth. The leaves, in fact, are a flavourful substitute for parsley.
Celery root has been more popular in Europe, especially France and Germany, than it has been in Anglo-Saxon countries.
When buying, choose bulbs that feel heavy for their weight and are hard with no soft spots. Don’t go for the really big ones, as they can often have empty spaces inside or woody cores. They are most often sold without the stalk and leaves attached, but if they are, look for greenery that is still green.
Wash root. To peel, some use a French knife to hack off the gnarled sides, though others prefer to use a potato peeler. Plan on losing a lot of the skin, as you will have to remove a lot of it to get rid of the crevices that are dirt-stained. You will lose at least a quarter of the weight after it is peeled.
Once peeled, the exposed flesh will darken quicken (in less than 5 minutes), so have handy a bowl of water with lemon juice in it to put the pieces in as you peel and chop them. They need to soak in there for about 15 minutes if you are planning to then expose the raw pieces to the air, say, in a relish tray or in a salad.
If you are planning on baking the whole root, wash and scrub the skin well, but don’t peel it: bake it first, then peel it.
To slice or chop, first cut one slice off the side of it, with a knife such as a chef’s knife. Turn the celery root onto that flat side you have just made, then proceed to slice further. This is much safer than having its rounded sides sliding around on your cutting board.
To boil, place peeled pieces in boiling water for 10 minutes.
To pressure cook celery root, 5 minutes on veggie setting; 7 minutes if you are going to mash it.
To make puréed celery root, you clean, peel and cook till it is soft first, then mash it. When mashed by hand, it can end up with a squidgy texture, which may be why most recipes call for it to be done in a food processor. When puréed in a food processor, it will come out smooth, and somewhat light and fluffy. It also needs additional flavourings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, parsley, and cream cheese, sour cream, or butter.
Puréed celery root can be combined with mashed potato in a 1 to 1 ratio, to provide more flavourful, less fattening mashed potatoes. For best texture results, prepare each separately (puréeing the cooked celery root chunks in a food processor, and preparing the mash as you normally would), then combine.
Great in soups and stews. Great grated fresh in salads (treat with lemon or acidulated water first.)
Contains no cholesterol or fat. Provides an excellent source of dietary fibre. Good source of iron, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous, potassium.
1 pound (450g) has 0 Weight Watchers PointsPlus® when used served on its own; inside a recipe; 5 Weight Watchers PointsPlus®.
1 kg (2 ¼ pounds), unpeeled = 575g (20 oz) peeled = 6 cups of 2 cm (1 inch) dice
1 small celery root = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced, raw
½ cup raw = 110g = ¼ pound
1.25 kg (2.75) pound raw, unpeeled = 3 cups peeled, cooked and puréed
Celery root is sometimes sold with its stalk still attached. If so, remove and discard the stalk (or freeze the leaves for use as a flavourful herb) before storing in plastic bag in refrigerator for up to a week. Don’t wash and peel celery root until you are going to use it.
Celery root was originally grown in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Recorded descriptions of it were made around 1600 by Italian and Swiss botanists, who were labouring to breed it for the best results.
It is still much more common to call it Celeriac rather than the English term of “Celery Root.”
Damrosch, Barbara. Celery root may be daunting, but it can be rewarding to have in your garden. Washington Post. 5 July 2011.