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Celeriac

Updated on September 21, 2012

Synonyms

Knob celery, celery root, turnip-rooted celery.

Biological source

Celeriac is a strain of celery having scientific name Apium graveolens var. rapaceum belonging to family Umbelliferae. The roots are used as cooked vegetable and shoots are eaten as raw salad.

Geographical source

Celeriac is native to the Mediterranean Basin. It is found growing wild in all temperate zones. It is widely cultivated in Germany and other European countries, North America, North Africa and southwest Asia.

History

Celeriac had medicinal and religious uses, mainly due to it’s bitter stalks, in some of the greatest civilizations including Italy, Greece and Egypt. It is mentioned in Homer’s Odessey of 850 B.C. It was known as selinon to Greeks. Celeriac achieved importance after French and Swiss botanists gave initial description around 1600 B.C. In 1623 it was first recorded as a food plant in France and became popular in Europe by the 17th century.

Sliced root of celeriac
Sliced root of celeriac | Source
Variety
Apium graveolens L. var. rapaceum
Species
Apium graveolens L. - wild celery
Genus
Apium L. – celery
Family
Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Order
Apiales
Subclass
Rosidae
Class
Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Division
Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Superdivision
Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Subkingdom
Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Kingdom
Plantae – Plants
Classification of Apium graveolens L. var. rapaceum, Celeriac

Description

The plant looks like celery however the key difference is that in celeriac the root is developed into a mass resembling a turnip, is easier to grow and has the characteristic flavour of celery. The plant produces the large beet-like root, which is used as a vegetable and spice.

Originally celeriac had a disagreeable taste and odour but in the cultivated varieties these traits have entirely vanished. The essential oil has the odour and flavour of celery. The root has a brown skin with white interior. It is smaller than celery and has very dark green foliage. The flavour of the root tastes like a blend of celery and parsley. In ancient times celeriac was a medicinal crop but now it is predominantly food crop.

Varieties

Monarch: A smooth skinned variety with succulent flesh.

Alabaster: A high yielding variety.

Prinz: It has a distinct aromatic flesh and is less susceptible to leaf diseases and ‘bolting’.

Some other varieties are Bergers White Ball, Snow White, Kojak, Giant Prague, Goliath Diamant, Anita, Dolvi, Ofir and more.

Nutrient
Value per 100.0g
Water
88 g
Protein
1.5 g
Total fats
0.3 g
Carbohydrate, estimated by difference
9.2 g
Total dietary fiber
1.8 g
Total Sugars
1.6 g
Minrals
 
Calcium
43 mg
Iron
0.7 mg
Magnesium
20 mg
Phosphorus
115 mg
Potassium
300 mg
Sodium
100 mg
Zinc
0.33 mg
Vitamins
 
Vitamin C
8 mg
Niacin
0.7 mg
Vitamin B-6
0.165 mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
0.36 mg
Total Energy
42 kcal
Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion of raw celeriac

Cultivation of Celeriac

Celeriac grows in rich deep soil that is moisture holding, but well drained. Although celeriac plant needs moisture it fails to thrive in waterlogged soil conditions. A good well-drained sandy loam or silt loam soil is best suited for this crop. A pH range of 5.5–6.7 is suitable. Celeriac thrives best when the weather is relatively cool and with moderately well distributed rainfall during the growing season. Autumn and early winter best suit celeriac. It has good frost tolerance.

It is propagated through seeds. It requires a 120-day growing season. It can be cultivated either by direct sowing or transplantation. Celeriac can be directly seeded in mild climates. Seeds are sown about half a centimeter deep and the seedbed is kept moist until the seedlings emerge. Seeds are spaced 20–30 cm apart in rows placed at 60 cm apart.

Seeds are sown in greenhouses or hot beds at a temperature of 20–25 ∞C during early March. The required seed rate is about 200–250 gm per hectare. To encourage stocky plants the seeds are sown thinly. It takes around 21–25 days for germination of seeds. By June the plants attain height of six to nine centimeters are suitable for transplantation. Trimmed plants are then transplanted in the late spring when the weather is cool. Ideally the plants should planted in rows maintaining 20–30 cm of distance between them. The rows should be at least 60 cm apart.

The crop responds well to manures and fertilizers giving good yield. Per hectare requirement of fertilizers are as follows 12 tonne of compost, 200 kgs of Nitrogen, around 55 kg each of phosporus and potassium. As Celeriac is moisture loving plant it requires decent amount of water while growing. Immediately after planting it is irrigated to ensure optimum size and quality of the produce. It requires around 3 to 4 cms of water per week during dry periods.

When the roots have attained a diameter of at least five centimeters then it can be harvested. The full flavors develop only after it has received a frost. A fully mature plant has root of around 5–12 cm in diameter depending on the growing region. The harvesting season is October-November. Under normal cultivation practices a tuber yield of 15–20 t per hectare may be obtained.

Roasted Masala  Celeriac
Roasted Masala Celeriac

Medicinal uses

The seeds have medicinal properties and are used as a tonic and an aphrodisiac. Celeriac contains water soluble fiber that lowers cholestrol thus it can reduce risk of heart attack. It is high in phosphorus, and is beneficial to nervous, lymphatic and urinary systems.

General uses

Celeriac is mainly used as a cooked vegetable or raw in salads but is usually boiled before use. It is used in innumerable recipes usually after blanching in boiled salt water for five minutes and cooled rapidly. It is also used as a garnish or stuffed as a major part of a meal. The leaf stalks after they are pulled off can be boiled and served like seakale. Many use celeriac in soups and stews.

References:

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    • getwellsoon profile image

      getwellsoon 5 years ago from US

      Wow, I learned about a new food today. Thank you for your wonderful hub!

    • profile image

      Ganesh 4 years ago

      Another good dish is Celeriac curry where celeriac is roasted and added to spicy curry, can be served with fried rice, chapati or bread!

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