Herb (Apium graveolens) of the parsley family, native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The varieties with large, fleshy, succulent, upright leafstalks were developed in the late 18th century. Celery is usually eaten cooked in Europe but raw in the U.S. The tiny fruit, or seed, of the celery resembles the plant itself in taste and aroma and is used as a seasoning.
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In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds, which are very small fruit rather than actual seeds, which yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. It also contains an organic compound called apiol. Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice either as whole seeds or, ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning.
Celery, onions, and bell peppers are the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. Celery, onions, and carrots make up the French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups. Celery is a staple in chicken noodle Soup. Celery is an important ingredient in Indian cuisines including in Indian Curry. Celery is also good with peanut butter.
Celery is widely eaten by guinea pigs, dogs, horses, birds, squirrels, and small rodents.
The use of celery seed in pills for relieving pain was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus ca. 30 AD.
M. Fragiska mentions an archeological find of celery dating to the 9th century BC, at Kastanas; however, the literary evidence for ancient Greece is far more abundant. In Homer's Iliad, the horses of Myrmidons graze on wild celery that grows in the marshes of Troy, and in Odyssey there is mention of the meadows of violet and wild celery surrounding the cave of Calypso.
In North America, commercial production of celery is dominated by a variety called Pascal celery. Gardeners can grow a range of cultivars, many of which differ little from the wild species, mainly in having stouter leaf stems. They are ranged under two classes, white and red; the white cultivars being generally the best flavoured, and the most crisp and tender.
The wild form of celery is known as smallage. It has a furrowed stalk with wedge-shaped leaves, the whole plant having a coarse, earthy taste, and a distinctive smell. With cultivation and blanching, the stalks lose their acidic qualities and assume the mild, sweetish, aromatic taste particular to celery as a salad plant.
The plants are raised from seed, sown either in a hot bed or in the open garden according to the season of the year, and after one or two thinnings out and transplantings they are, on attaining a height of 15-20 cm, planted out in deep trenches for convenience of blanching, which is affected by earthing up to exclude light from the stems.
In the past, celery was grown as a vegetable for winter and early spring; because of its antitoxic properties, it was perceived as a cleansing tonic, welcomed after the stagnation of winter.
Celery: celery has grown substantially from the days when it was merchandised without cellophane sleeves and pushed into a corner of the produce display. John Foley, category manager for Duda, has some advice for retailers that want to increase their celery sales.(Produce/ Floral)(Advertisement)
Sep 01, 2004; What has been happening lately within the celery category? John Foley: More retailers are moving from offering naked...
Celebrate celery for its flavor, versatility: The veggie's stalks and roots are essential to many stocks, sauces
Apr 12, 2006; Sometimes it's the flavors that are right under our noses - or buried in the crisper drawer - that are most worth celebrating....
Celery: celery is just not for salads anymore. John Foley, category manager, retail business unit for DUDA, says that celery products are geared to consumers who are looking for a tasty snack as well as those who like to cook.(PRODUCE/ FLORAL)(Advertisement)
Sep 01, 2005; What are the trends within the category? JOHN FOLEY: In DUDA's consumer research we are finding two distinct types of...