Green celery has become a commonplace staple vegetable in the U.S. and Europe. It is easily adapted to most menus as it can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Although many types of celery can be found growing throughout the world Green Celery is by far the top seller in the Americas. The average American consumes about ten pounds of green celery each year. Celery is a root vegetable and in the same family as carrots, parsley, fennel and dill. While most people are familiar with the stock for eating the entire plan including the roots, seeds and leaves can be harvested for use as food and medicine.
Celery is thought to have been first found growing wild in the Mediterranean. The variety of celery eaten by early man did not resemble the green stalks we call celery today, but were more of a leafy vegetable. Green Celery was first cultivated in large quantities in Italy. The preferred variety of celery was similar to the mild tasting green stalks we find today. There are many other varieties that are less widely grown with Chinese celery being the most common. You can typically find Chinese celery is the Asian markets. In Europe it is not uncommon to find white celery.
Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including phalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention. Vitamin C helps support the immune system. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, folate, molybdenum, manganese and vitamin B6. Celery is also a good source of calcium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorous and iron. Celery also contains approximately 35 milligrams of sodium per stalk, so salt-sensitive individuals can enjoy celery, but should keep track of this amount when monitoring daily sodium intake.
To prepare celery cut the stalks off at the base and rinse in cold water. For people with difficulty chewing or who dislike the stringy texture of celery it may be helpful to use a peeler to peel the string like fibers from the backside of the celery.
Spinach and Cheese Salad with Celery
This is a great salad to eat with any Italian meal or as a light main coarse with some crusty bread from the Boise Organic Bakery. Feel free to improvise when necessary. For a non vegetarian twist add salami and pepperoni strips.
6 oz. spinach leaves
1/4 cup olives, sliced
1/8 cup celery, sliced
1/8 cup onion, sliced
1 Tomato, diced
1/8 cup mozzarella, matchsticks
1/4 t. salt 1/8 cup shredded Romano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
For salad toss together first six ingredients. In another small bowl whisk together final four ingredients for dressing. Toss well with salad.