Grow your celery knowledge! Learn about the health benefits of celery. Read about cooking and storage tips. And try some healthy celery recipes. 

What makes a vegetable, a vegetable? Vegetables are the parts of plants that we eat. Leaves, stems, roots, tubers, seeds, and flowers are all vegetables. There are also some vegetables called ‘fruit-vegetables.’ Tomatoes, avocados, peppers, and eggplants are ‘fruit-vegetables.’ While we eat these like vegetables, they are really fruits! Celery is a stalk vegetable, like artichokes, asparagus, and fennel. Celery is often called ‘stalk celery’ for just this reason!

 

Health Benefits

  • Beyond bananas: celery is a very good source of potassium. Getting enough potassium in your diet can help you manage your blood pressure.
  • Celery has a satisfying crunch and is a very good source of fiber. The fiber in the stalk will help you feel full longer.
  • Celery is 95% water. Eat “water-packed” fruits and veggies like celery and cucumbers to stay hydrated.

 

Storage

  • Store unwashed celery in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Celery will last well for up to one week.
  • Celery can lose water quickly if it is stored without a bag. This makes celery rubbery and bendable. If your celery loses its crunch:
    • Trim the ends of the stalks. Then place the stalks in ice-cold water in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.

 

Preparation

  • Remove each individual celery rib from the root end of the stalk. Rinse under cool running water to remove dirt.
  • The outer stalks of celery have fibrous strings. They are can be easily removed with a vegetable peeler. There is no need to remove these fibrous strings. They are an excellent source of fiber. If you enjoy celery without the strings, peel away!

 

Cooking Tips

Celery is perfect with your favorite vegetable dip. It can also be added to soups and stews, or even cooked in the oven. Celery is one of the aromatic vegetables that serve as the base for most cooking. The aromatic vegetables are celery onion and carrot. Most soup recipes begin by cooking these three vegetables, known as mirepoix. You may see this French word in a recipe. It’s simply a mixture of chopped celery, onions, and carrots. When cooked, these vegetables give deep flavor to any recipe, whether it’s stuffing at Thanksgiving or hearty soups like this Tuscan Bean Soup.

 

Tuscan Bean Soup

 

2 Tbl oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp salt
1 (28 oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
6 cups of chopped winter greens
2 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dried rosemary
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbl sugar (optional)
Black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil. Add onions to the oil. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until onions have softened and are starting to brown.
  2. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and salt. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, greens, beans, rosemary, sugar, broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Don’t toss you leftover stalks! Make your own veggie stock!

Save money and use the parts of vegetables that you don’t normally use. Collect kitchen scraps to make your own flavorful vegetable stock. Try using carrot tops, onion skins, and celery hearts and leaves. Place kitchen scraps in a sealed container in the freezer. Make stock when the container is full.

Making your own vegetable stock is easy. Place vegetable scraps, water, and seasoning in a pot on the stove. Use every inch of the celery stalks. Vegetable stock is a great starter for soups and stews. It can also be used in place of water to cook more flavorful rice. Try our recipe to make vegetable stock at home:

https://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Ripe-Veggie-card-1.pdf