This is a new feature for the What is Fresh blog. Every now and then, we’ll highlight a market product, exploring its origins and use. We will profile items that you may have passed by in confusion or simply want to know more about.
In the mid-winter, produce at the farmers’ market may seem fairly predictable: apples, potatoes, and cabbage! This past Monday, I went on the hunt for something a bit different and wound up taking pictures of this:
Gnarly like a wrinkled coconut, and intimidating like it might fight back if you pick it up, celeriac’s beauty comes from looking closer. Celeriac is a hardy root vegetable, known for its ability to be stored for long periods of time and its adaptability in a variety of dishes. Once you scratch below the surface (in this case, cut the surface off with a knife), I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
In a recent profile, NPR deemed it the “Vegetable World’s Ugly Duckling”. Celeriac, also known as celery root, is less starchy than other root vegetables. Celeriac was originally grown in Europe and is still widely used in that part of the world.
A celery flavor, with more nutty elements and a hint of parsley; texture of a potato
In the Kitchen:
Good standard: 1 pound celery root = 3 cups grated celery = 1 cup cooked and pureed celery root
Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked. Slice off the exterior, rather than peeling it (peeling it is nearly impossible). It is used as flavoring in soups and stews, mashed, or as a component in casseroles.
Celeriac can be grown in many climates, though it grows best in the cool weather, especially with cool nights. It has a long growing season (112 days or so!) and after being harvested, the bulbs can be stored for up to 4 months in a cool and dark space.