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Celery Root

Celery root or celeriac is available year round, but is most popular during the winter months for its use in soups and stews. While this is a great way to use celery root, there are many other ways to prepare it to get the full benefit of its unique flavor. Celery root is a source of phosphorus and potassium, among other nutrients.

Celery root comes from the Verona and Alabaster varieties of celery, both of which grow a huge tuberous root, but only spindly ribs that are of little use for eating or cooking. Celery root originated in the Mediterranean, but it is also a popular winter vegetable in Germany and central Europe.

When selecting celery root in the store, look for firm, heavy roots that are compact and brown in color. Stay away from those with a greenish tinge. Check the ribs at the top of the root. They should be small, supple and plentiful. If they are large, stiff and hollow, the root is over mature and suitable only for the mulch pile. Make sure there isn't any slime at the bottom of the root as well.

When preparing celery root, cut away the ribs and scrub the root with a hard-bristled brush under running water. (Because this is a root vegetable, there may be a good amount of dirt, so scrub vigorously.) Peel the root with a sharp knife or a carrot peeler until the interior is exposed.

Celery root can be grated raw and added to soups and salads, or sliced, battered and fried as you would eggplant. Cube it and throw it in stews or stuff it in a chicken. Try it in a stir-fry or sauté… the list goes on.

Legendary chef Graham Kerr names celeriac as “the most God awful thing to look at” and his favorite comfort food. Add a tablespoon of grated celery root to a six-ounce portion of mashed potatoes and "it just whips it into a Rolls Royce thing," Says Kerr. "Use lowfat buttermilk and add a touch of nutmeg too." Famous Chef—simple recipe. What could be better?