Celery, it always seems to be underestimated. How many times have we heard someone say or maybe you have even said. Celery is a “negative- calorie”. Meaning the caloric expenditure from eating and digesting it is greater than then the calories it contains. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support this fun claim. However, with only 6 calories per medium stalk, celery is unlikely to break the bank. Even with its mild taste celery is a nutritious culinary staple that should not be glanced over anymore.
Celery is rich in water, a good source of vitamin K and also contains some amounts of potassium, vitamin A, and folate. Celery also contains phytochemicals including phenolic acids, flavones and favonols. These are thought to have antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects.
Celery continues to be a culinary favorite around the world. Mostly known for its contribution in a mirepoix and holy trinity. Mirepoix is made from celery, carrots, and onions a staple for French soups and stews. The holy trinity is found in Cajun dishes like gumbo and jambalaya and contains celery, onion, and peppers.
The entire talk, and leaves can be used for cooking. Traditionally you see the leaves discarded. However the leaves provide a bolder flavor than the stalks. You can add celery to just about anything. Top a salad, add to stir fries, soups and even use the leafy part to replace parsley or cilantro. Plus we all love using celery to create ants on a log (celery stock filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins).
In 2015 the food industry labeled celery the new kale. Celery didn’t end up rising to the occasion to become the next kale but celery continues to be used in the foodservice industry daily. Celery is a cool weather crop. It does best in a cooler winter climate between 60-65 degrees with plenty of moisture. Celery is grown all year long in states like California, Florida and Michigan.
So the next you are at the grocery store- grab some celery and use the entire stalk, leaves and all!