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Celery

Celery’s numerous properties

Celery is one of the best-known and most-used vegetables in Italy (and in Europe in general). It grows spontaneously in Italy, at least up to 1500 metres above sea level. It does not have great demands, either in terms of climate or soil. From a botanical point of view, it is a herbaceous species of the Apiaceae family, with a life cycle lasting 6-7 months. Typically, the harvest begins in September and ends in November.

Celery has been consumed in the Mediterranean region since ancient times. In the past, it was used not only as a cooking vegetable but also as a herbal substance. In fact, its therapeutic properties, such as support for digestive activity (thanks to the presence of limonene) and diuretic action, are well attested.

Celery, beyond the therapeutic issue, boasts a very respectable nutritional value. By eating celery, you take in nutrients. The reference is in particular to the presence of potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. The same goes for vitamins, given the contribution of those in groups B and C. Finally, it has a very low, almost laughable, caloric intake of 20 kcal per 100 grammes.

The different varieties of celery

Celery grows spontaneously up to high latitudes, and this is called “wild” celery. On the other hand, certain domesticated kinds are grown intensively. Here are the main ones.

  • White ribbed. It is characterised by long, fleshy, light-coloured leaves (as is the stem). It is often eaten raw in salads.
  • Green ribbed. Variety similar to the previous one, but with more leathery and darker-coloured leaves. It is the most widespread type, used for both the preparation of vegetable broth and making sautés.
  • It is the most specialised variety; its hypertrophic root gives it the appearance and texture of a tuber. While there is a noticeable hint of a milder, less potent flavour, the nutritional qualities are the same as the other types.

Celery in the kitchen

The variety of celery determines how it is used. White-ribbed celery is typically made into a salad and served with dips. Green-ribbed celery is used for sautéing and vegetable broths because it has a somewhat more bitter and leathery flavour.

Il sedano rapa, invece, viene servito sotto forma di insalata, raramente cotto, o grattugiato. Se si escludono alcune zuppe, il sedano è un alimento da supporto, piuttosto che un ingrediente principale.

However, celeriac is rarely fried or shredded; instead, it is served as a salad. Celery is more of a supporting ingredient than a key one, with the exception of some soups.

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