Carrots, parsnips and celeriac are root vegetables related to celery. The edible portion of a root vegetable grows underground, while inedible foliage of the plant is typically visible above ground. The celery family is scientifically referred to as the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, and it contains hundreds of flowering plant species, including several vegetables and herbs, but only carrots, parsnips and celeriac are root vegetables.
Carrots are one of the most well-known members of the celery family. The orange, cone-shaped vegetable grows underground for most of the growing season, and people harvest it just before the first frost. Commonly consumed raw, carrots often feature in salads. The vegetable also appears in juices, soups and a variety of cooked dishes.
Parsnips closely resemble carrots but are a light cream color instead of orange and typically have a sweeter flavor. Some growers allow parsnips to grow all year, harvesting in early spring rather than late fall, in an attempt to enhance the vegetables' sweetness. Some people eat parsnips raw, but the vegetable usually appears cooked in soups, stews and a variety of side dishes.
Often called celery root or knob celery, celeriac's appearance is similar to that of a turnip, but it is a close relative of celery. This vegetable is an ingredient in many recipes, such as potato and celery root gratin, and celery root and apple soup. People sometimes grate raw celeriac and use it in salad.