I’m happy to tell anyone about the deliciousness that is Celeriac, but I do get a little worn out by repetitive “What is THIS?!” “What IS this??” “What’s that?!!” and occasional “Turnip??” we get at market each week! Call it “Sell-Air-E-Ack” or “Celery-Ack”, just don’t call it Celery Root. It’s not the root of the Celery plant, so you’ll never hear me calling it that as it’s confusing and incorrect. Root Celery is also a suitable name, as it’s the root vegetable equivalent of celery. In European countries it is more widely known, but it continues to be a bit of an enigma to North Americans.
I’m not shocked if you’ve never had it before, but I’ll be shocked if you don’t like it! My spiel is, Celeriac is like if a potato and a celery had a baby. It’s relatively the same texture as a potato, and the flavour of celery verging on parsnip.
Season: Celeriac is ready in late summer and we usually have a good supply until Christmas, though it will keep all winter long.
Storage Tips: Uncut, Celeriac will store fine uncovered in the crisper or a container in the fridge. As you’re peeling it before you use it, it’s not a big deal if it becomes a bit dehydrated before you use it. It will keep a long time (2 or more months) in the fridge.
Preparation Tips: Cut the end of the root so it is flat and then using a sharp knife, cut the peel away from the inner flesh. The peel is light brown and the flesh below is mottled golden white. Once peeled, you can use the entire thing. If I am just using part of it, I cut off the piece I want to use and then peel it, and store the rest of the chunk in a bag in the crisper. If it browns or dries out by the time I want to use it again, I just cut a slice off the outer edge and carry on.
This ugly, gnarly vegetable is absolutely delicious and fully worth tackling. Cut into sticks for stir-fries or fresh eating, chunks for stews, diced for soups, and a little bit bigger than your potato chunks if you are boiling for mashing. I usually just add it anywhere I would use celery – chopped as a flavour base for soups and stews, in stir-fries — it can even be eaten raw like carrot sticks! It’s also fantastic boiled with potatoes and then mashed up with them. It will add a flavour that no one will be able to pinpoint, and everyone at the table will consider you a gourmet cook.