Celery is a green, long, and chewy vegetable we all know and have been eaten for centuries. Scientifically called Apium graveolens, this vegetable has stored something special for all its consumers. Along with its richly flavored leaves and scent, the plant is also famous for being added to foods, dried and seasoned to be sprinkled on dishes, and its mineral-rich juice, ideal for detoxification.
I think you must be wondering where do we grow it? Celery is a prevalent crop in Europe, Asia, and North America and is eaten as a main ingredient in soups, salads, and seasonings. While its leaves serve their purpose, its seeds are used to make spices and oil.
As we already mentioned above, celery juice is used as a detox, but it is also used to treat hysteria, headaches and joint pains, fatigue, and appetite loss. Let’s go deeper into this flavourful vegetable with great medicinal uses and see what the celery plant is?
|Botanical Name||Apium Graveolens|
|Plant Type||Hardy Biennial That We Grow As An Annual|
|Size (Fully Grown)||Height 12-18 Inches (30 To 46 cm). Spread 4-6 Inches (10 To 15 cm)|
|Sun Exposure||5-7 Hours Of Sunlight Every Day|
|Soil Type||Moisture-retentive Soil That Is Rich In Organic Matter|
|Soil pH||Prefers A pH Of 5.6 To 6.8|
|Flower Color||Light White / Green|
|U.S. Hardiness Zones||(Depending On The Variety) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, And 10|
|Native Area||Mediterranean Area And The Middle East|
Different Celery Types
The three main types are:
- Celeriac – That has a delicious root and has further subtypes.
- Leaf Celery – That has a thin stalk and scented leaves and seeds.
- Pascal Celery – A plant also known as stalk celery, which is the most used one worldwide. It thrives in cold growing temperatures.
Where Does Celery Originally Come From?
Celery originated from the Mediterranean regions and the Middle East. After the 16th century, it was grown in Italy, and after the 19th century, it was introduced to North America.
Are you wondering if it was ever valued for its scent? It was! The Greeks and Romans grew it after being attracted by its smell in addition to its medicinal value.
This plant was valued in the past because of its volatile oils and seeds used to treat colds, arthritis, and poor digestion. A single plant, and so many cures? Yes, that’s precisely the case!
Ancient Generations Valued This Plant Because Of Many Reasons:
- The Italians domesticated it.
- The Romans used it for cooking.
- The Greeks considered it a sacred plant, hence valuing it religiously, and the plant was even used as cultural depictions by early Greeks.
What Can You Do With Celery?
Nowadays, celery is valued more for its health benefits than any religious purposes, which, honestly speaking, sounds good.
When I ask myself a question, what meals include celery as an ingredient, this dish comes into my mind, celery soup! An excellent meal with a vegan version. The uses for this amazing plant don’t end there either. We can add it to other meals like herby burgers, pasta and use it as an ingredient in juices.
Plenty of research has also been made, and the researchers have proven that celery’s anti-inflammatory properties have more health benefits than the older generations ever knew.
The leaves are dried and stored as a seasoning, which you can later add as a mild flavoring to the food. You can also eat the leaves raw and include them in your salads.
The seeds are also essential oils that are valued by the perfume and scent industries. Have you ever heard of celery salt? Yes, it’s a thing! The seeds are crushed and mixed with salt to make celery salt, which is added to cocktails.
What Does Celery Do To Your Body?
You might be wondering why we consume so much celery and add it to our meals. For that, I have you covered. The biggest reason is that it has a vast range of benefits when consumed, and some of them include:
- Reduces inflammation.
- It has an alkalizing effect.
- Contains a lot of antioxidants.
- It supports our digestive system.
- It is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- It’s an excellent source of vitamin A, B, and C
On top of those health benefits, it’s used to add flavor to broths, soups, and salads. You can even serve it by itself or with dips as a great appetizer.
Even though this article isn’t about cooking, I’d still like to add some quick serving ideas here.
- Add it to your tuna salad.
- Or add it to your fresh fruit juices.
- You can also add it to your casseroles and stews.
- Try varieties other than the common stalk celery.
I bet that the vast uses have convinced you of the versatility of this great vegetable.
What Does Celery Look Like?
Celery is a pretty fundamental veggie with its long meaty, succulent petioles called stalks, while the stalks’ end has dark green leaves. Additionally, you can also recognize raw celery from its pungent smell.
What To Keep In Mind When Growing Celery?
The four main things you’ll need to grow celery successfully are:
- Plenty of water.
- Moderate temperatures.
- Protection from too much heat.
- Soil that is rich in organic matter.
The order of planting will be as follows:
- Place your pot or grow away from direct sunlight.
- Maintain a temperature of 70-75°F (about 21 to 24°C) during the day and 60°F (about 16°C) during the night.
- Remember to water it sufficiently.
- Maintain ample air circulation and drainage.
- When plants are 2 inches (about 5 cm) tall, transplant them into separate pots.
- At 6 inches (about 15 cm), transplant them into a garden with organic matter.
- Add compost and balanced fertilizers.
- While harvesting, remember to cut just below the soil line.
Beware Of The Attacks – You’re Not The Only One In Your Garden Who Likes Celery!
Parsley worms, carrot rust flies, and nematodes might attack this plant, and diseases like blight and pink rot may also raise as a problem.
The plant is a cool-season crop, so it doesn’t grow well in hot climates. It does need a few hours of sunlight to bloom but make sure that the plant is protected from extreme heat.
How To Choose The Right One From The Supermarket?
Usually, the supermarket personnel already does some quality control to ensure that the products (including the celery plant in there) they sell are top-notch in quality. But, to be sure, use your eagle eye and choose a plant that looks crisp and breaks easily.
The plant should be tight and compact, and the leaves should be green or pale. I also urge you to be careful when trying to find the best one because sometimes the celery might be infected by insects. To check for diseases, look closely for any discolorations, which are usually black.
How To Properly Store Celery?
Place the plant in a plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and store it in your refrigerator. I recommend you to put in that extra effort to keep the plant in good condition.
Also, make sure to consume it within a week because leaving it there for more extended periods will make it lose its antioxidant properties.
Did you cut up celery but no longer need it? Don’t worry because I have a solution for you! Please place the plant in a hard glass container instead of a plastic bag and refrigerate it. Doing this will slow down the loss of vitamins the plant contains. I hope that you also remember that refrigeration is a vital part of storing most vegetables.
Is it Safe To Eat / Consume Celery?
By now, we should all know that celery is a versatile vegetable that has many health benefits. But how about medical conditions, because people with these conditions can’t eat anything they want. So, let’s find out if you can eat it if you have a medical condition that requires being cautious about the stuff you eat.
Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
We all know that pregnant and women who are breastfeeding need a lot of nutrients from their food to keep their child healthy and well-fed. This is a place where vegetables have time to shine. So, celery, which is full of nutrients like potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C, is one of the veggies that are good to keep in the diet of an expectant mother.
There is one thing that I need to warn you about, though. While celery is an excellent food to eat, the seeds of the plant are a definite no-no! The reason for this is because consuming the seeds can cause uterine bleeding and contractions in your uterus.
And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, those issues can eventually (in the worst-case scenario) lead to a miscarriage. So, remember that you can eat it, but stay away from celery seeds!
This might sound repetitive, but as we know, vegetables, are a must in everybody’s diet, and that includes little children. But what about celery? Well, like many other vegetables, when they are eaten raw, celeries contain a choking hazard. If your child is still very young, I would tell you to slice them into fine slices before giving them to your kid.
People With Allergies
It’s fair to say that allergies are always bad when you can’t enjoy all the benefits mother nature offers. So, as you might guess, there are people who are allergic to celery, and some of the common symptoms of an allergy include tingling or itchy mouth or throat.
Other symptoms include urticaria or, in other words, hives. So, if you face any of these symptoms while consuming it, you might have an allergy.
Even though allergies to this plant are rare, it’s still possible, and an allergy to carrots might also state an allergy to celery. Also, plants used in spices like cumin, parsley, aniseed, coriander, and even pepper, along with bell pepper, might be plants that you have problems with.
People With Diabetes
Weight is one thing that people with diabetes should keep a close eye on, and lucky for them, celery is low on calories. What’s more, it also contains antioxidants that help keep the blood sugar levels in check.
I think you are happy to hear that celery is entirely safe for both dogs and cats. Although overeating the leaves might cause stomach upset for cats, so don’t feed it to your cat too often.
You might remember that we talked about choking hazards earlier, and this applies to animals also. It would also be best to cut the plant into smaller pieces before giving them to your pet to ensure that nothing bad won’t happen to them. If you are a pet owner and want to find more info about plants that are safe for pets, remember to bookmark ASPCA.org!
Featured image credit – © JackF – stock.adobe.com