Sadly, I have to admit that the family garden isn’t all success stories. My attempt to start celeriac (aka celery root) from seed this spring was a total failure. I started them inside under lights, and they took forever to sprout (apparently that’s normal), and then they slowly putted along for a while, growing more slowly than everything else. I eventually transferred them to larger indoor pots (still under the lights). Then I put the survivors outside after hardening them off, and only two kept growing. Then they stopped. That’s the end of that story. 🙁 So sad. I’ve never seen celeriac seedlings at any nursery I’ve ever visited, so I suppose I’m limited to buying them in the grocery store. Oh well, maybe I’ll try again next year.
Lucky for me, my local grocer almost always has a nice stock of celery root for me to use in all kinds of fun recipes, which we’ll get to shortly. For now, check out the size of this thing and the terrified look in Dexter’s eyes! I never get tired of this picture.
Celeriac, also called celery root or knob celery is a variety of celery distinct from the common stalk variety we see most often. It’s not actually the root of that plant, but the two plants are related. It grows wild in the Mediterranean parts of Northern Europe and is much more widely used there than it is here in the US. The stalks of celeriac are also edible, but they’re a bit more fibrous, so I have only ever used them in soups. The outer layer of the bulbous root is gnarled and covered in thin hair-like roots, which can be peeled and discarded. The inside is white and firm and can be shaved raw into a salad, roasted, boiled, or steamed.
6 Reasons to Eat Celery Root
With its weird, stringy, hair-like tangles connecting to a gnarled bulbous structure with brainy wrinkles, it’s easy to think that preparing celery root would be a lot of work. After all, the outer layer is rough and unappetizing at first glance, so you have to get rid of it. But it’s worth the little bit of kitchen labor to incorporate this awesome ingredient into your diet.
- It’s a low-glycemic root that has a mere fraction of the insulin-spiking simple carbohydrates of a potato (about 5–6% starch by weight). (source)
- It’s high in fiber, which keeps you full longer — a great tool if you’re working on portion control.
- It’s a lot easier to prepare than it looks — simply cut a large one into manageable pieces and use a carrot peeler or sharp paring knife to remove the skin. Anything you can’t remove when raw will come off easily once it’s cooked.
- It has a mild celery flavor — a flavor those in the culinary world classify as umami, the 6th flavor after sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and bitter. This adds a rich element to nearly any dish you’re complementing with celery root and makes for a much more interesting side dish than your average potato.
- It has a very long shelf life — about 6 to 8 months — if you store it at approximately 41 degrees F. (source)
- It’s just as versatile as a potato; use it for soups and stews, roast it, mash it, or try out the delicious recipe I’m sharing with you today.
- 1 celery root (how large your root is will dictate how many are served. serving size = 1/2 to 1 cup per person, cooked. I only used half of the one shown in the picture with Dexter. That one was GIANT!)
- 2 tbs grass fed butter
- 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- REAL salt or pink Himalayan salt
- black pepper
- Start boiling about 2 inches of water in a saucepan and set your steamer basket inside
- While your water is warming, peel and cube your celery root. If it's a large one, cut it in half before peeling
- Place cubed celery root into the steamer and sprinkle salt throughout
- Cover and steam for about 20 minutes until a fork pokes through easily
- Remove steaming basket, dump the water, and set the celery root aside
- Add butter and chopped sage leaves to pan, stirring to melt and infuse the herb into the butter
- Add celery root back in along with a touch more salt and black pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes on medium, stirring to make sure the butter doesn't burn
- Serve with your favorite protein and veggie combo