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All About Celery Root (Celeriac)

How to Buy, Store & Use Celery Root

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Celery root, also known as celeriac, is just what its name claims it to be: the root of the celery plant. This ugly brown hairball of a vegetable has a mild, celery-like flavor with a starchy, rather potato-like texture. It's a surprising but winning combination. With "root" in its name, celery root is obviously a root vegetable. That means that it stores well, making it a real treat for local eaters in fall and winter.

Celery Root Season

Fresh Celery Root
Photo © Molly Watson
Celery root is often available year-round, especially in temperate climates, but is at its best in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring (except in cold climates, where you'll find it during the summer and early fall). Freshly harvested celery root is sometimes sold with the stalks and leaves still attached, as pictured here.

How to Buy Celery Root

Photo © Molly Watson

Look for celery roots that feel heavy for their size. If any greenery or bits of stalk are discernible on the top of the root, they should be fresh looking and neither dried out nor slimy or wilted. Celery root are notoriously difficult to peel because of the hairy peel and its many nooks and crannies, so look for specimens with as smooth as exterior as possible (be warned: they only get so smooth).

If you see celeriac at the market with long bright green stalks still attached, snap them up! Freshly harvested celery root tends to be more tender and easier to peel. Pretty as the stalks are, be sure to cut them off and store them separately when you get the celery root home - both the root and the celery will last longer when stored separately.

How to Store Celery Root

Since celery root is a root vegetable, it stores well and for an amazingly long time if it is kept cool. Having spent most of its life underground, it also enjoys the dark. Kept loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge it will last up to several weeks, even longer if it was freshly harvested.

How to Use Celery Root

Photo © Molly Watson
Celery root needs to be peeled - and be aggressive when you do it. Remove all of the slightly hairy brown exterior to reveal the creamy, solid flesh inside.

Celery root is most classically and commonly used shredded and cooked in a simple Celery Root Salad. It is also delicious added to soups and stews. Try this Pork and Celery Root or, one of my favorites, use it in this Moroccan Vegetable Stew in place of the potatoes. Add celery root to mashed potatoes for a great twist.

Like all root vegetables, celery root is quite flexible, taking well to roasting, braising, or simmering. See 10 Ways to Use Root Vegetables for more ideas.

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