Crop Spot: Michigan Celery and Celeriac

Celery: an unexciting stalk with a watery crunch and not much to offer? Wrong! Celery has a robust history, extreme versatility, and a particularly interesting botanical neighbor – celeriac.

Did you know Kalamazoo was once considered the Celery Capital of the World? In the region, rose bouquets were sometimes swapped for celery arrangements and the stalks were fiercely coveted by fine dining chefs throughout the country. Check out this episode of Proof from America’s Test Kitchen to delve deeper into its history.

What is celeriac?

Celeriac is a variety of celery genetically selected for its bulbous, root vegetable-like stem, as opposed to the telltale green shoots of classic celery. What does celeriac taste like? It’s similar to celery, but the texture is more like a turnip. Celeriac season in Michigan typically spans from September to May and can be found in grocery stores and winter markets.

Celery Storage Tips

  • When storing celery, keep the heads whole, wrap or keep in a sealed water-filled tupperware, and place them in the refrigerator crisper. 
  • Celery can last 2-4 weeks in a sealed tupperware container or damply wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • Bonus: When you’re finished with your celery head. Place it in a bowl of shallow water, and observe the veggie for the next couple of weeks. Roots will form at the base and you’ll see new growth sprout from the middle!

Celeriac Storage Tips

  • Do not wash the celeriac before storing in the refrigerator to prevent rot.
  • You can store celeriac in the crisper drawer or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. 
  • Celeriac freezes well. To do so, wash the celeriac, peel it, and slice it into rounds or dice into cubes. Store the processed celeriac in a labeled plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 1 month.

How to Eat Celeriac

While you might be familiar with how to enjoy celery (a classic veggie tray with ranch dressing or ants on a log, anyone?), you may have questions about celeriac. Like celery, celeriac is excellent for stews and soups but is unique in its ability to be grated raw into salads. Check out these uniquely delicious celery and celeriac recipes:

Find local celery in Michigan by visiting our ‘Find Food & Farms’ directory!

Emily Row is the Media & Brand Manager at Taste the Local Difference.

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