Although celery's strong flavor makes it hard to miss in the vegetable section, many shoppers ignore or deliberately avoid this vegetable. Most of them are not even aware that cooked celery changes its taste and aroma to a more refined one, reminiscent of something between asparagus and artichoke. Celery is found in many recipes in Italian and French cuisine. And in alternative medicine, this plant is known as a powerful remedy.
What is celery
Celery is a biennial plant from the Umbelliferae family. That is, it belongs to the same group of vegetables as parsley, carrots, dill, fennel, cilantro, parsnip, cumin and many others. Its greens look very similar to parsley (but larger and with a sharper smell). Root varieties of celery tend to form, as a rule, spherical root vegetables, which are valued for their unique nutty flavor. In the markets you can see stem, leaf and root varieties of celery.
It is believed that people have been growing this vegetable for 3000 years, and the Mediterranean region is considered to be the birthplace of celery. It has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have found the leaves of this plant even in the tomb of Tutankhamen. In ancient Greece, celery leaves were woven into the wreath of the winners of sports, and the Romans used it as a cure for a hangover.
In Russia, this plant was known as "Roman parsley", but it was not eaten. At least at first. For our ancestors, this herb was a protector from evil forces and a talisman that brings happiness. Celery did not take root as food even during the time of Catherine II - in those days, the ladies of the court wove its greens into wreaths, and there was no talk of using it in cooking. Only over time, this fragrant herb made its way first into traditional medicine, and then to the tables. As a medicinal plant, celery has also been used in Tibetan and Chinese medicine since ancient times. This vegetable is also popular in Ayurveda.
Today this plant is cultivated in almost all countries. It takes root well on clay and sandy soils in latitudes with a temperate climate. Some varieties can reach 3 meters in height. Plants of petiolate varieties consist, as a rule, of 10-12 succulent light green U-shaped (on the cut) stems. The leaves of all varieties are very fragrant, pinnate, serrated at the edges. The flowers form cream-colored "umbrellas" which eventually develop into miniature seeds.
By the way, celery essential oil is used in pharmacology and perfume industry.
No matter what part of the vegetable is on your plate, in any case, you can be sure that the body will receive a huge amount of useful elements. And these are B vitamins, C, A, K, organic acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, essential oils and many other useful phytocomponents.
Celery leaves contain various phytonutrients, including terpenes. Also in the composition of this plant was found a group of substances known in chemistry as phthalides. These substances are responsible for the specific aroma of celery, but in addition to this, many useful properties of phthalides are known.
It is well known that most foods lose some of their nutrients after heat treatment. But if celery is cooked correctly, it will be possible to preserve the maximum amount of useful components. For example, 3 minutes of blanching or 10 minutes of steaming will save more than 80% of the nutrients in the vegetable.
|Vitamin A||450 IU|
|Vitamin C||3.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||29.3 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.02 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.57 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.32 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.25 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.07 mg|
|Vitamin B9||36 mcg|
Benefits for the body
Modern scientific research confirms that the popularity of celery in traditional medicine, in particular as a natural remedy for lowering blood pressure is not accidental. The vegetable was found to contain potassium and phthalides (a substance that relaxes the arteries), as well as the antioxidant coumarin, which increases the activity of white blood cells. Celery has diuretic properties, making it useful for eliminating edema. In many countries, it is known as a vegetable with tonic properties. In addition, modern researchers agree with Hippocrates, who considered celery a vegetable that calms the nerves. Essential oils from this plant are still used to treat the nervous system, and an infusion of its seeds is used as a carminative.
In many countries, this vegetable is used to treat toothache, insomnia, hypertension, nervousness, arthritis and rheumatism. Ancient Roman men used celery as an aphrodisiac. And what is most interesting, modern scientists have found in the composition of this plant the substance androsterone, which is also found in human sweat and helps men look more attractive in the eyes of women (at the level of instincts). And many more studies confirm the effectiveness of celery in preventing cancer.
Roman parsley contains chlorophyll. And this substance promotes blood regeneration, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties. Thanks to magnesium, this vegetable is considered beneficial for people with insomnia or sleep disorders, and vitamin A makes it good for the eyes.
As already mentioned, this vegetable also contains specific compounds - phthalides. They give the Roman parsley a special taste and aroma. But besides this, phthalides are very useful for the circulatory system. They not only relax blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure, but also cleanse the blood of excess cholesterol.
So, celery will help:
- strengthen immunity ;
- lower cholesterol;
- prevent atherosclerosis;
- improve the work of the heart and blood vessels ;
- get rid of nervousness and anxiety;
- digest food better;
- proper functioning of the kidneys and genitourinary system;
- improve protein metabolism;
- get rid of migraines.
In addition, celery is one of the healthiest vegetables for overweight people. The stem and root of this plant have a so-called negative calorie content. This means that the body, digesting Roman parsley, will spend more calories than it receives.
The fact that celery increases male strength has been known to people since ancient times. In the Middle Ages, men did not yet know that this vegetable enhances the production of the sex hormone androsterone, on which potency actually depends. But even in those days, the most famous "heartthrobs" understood that celery is a good helper in amorous affairs.
Women love celery primarily because of its low calorie content, ability to influence metabolic rate and water balance (thus preventing puffiness). Also, celery, as a product rich in antioxidants, affects the condition of the skin (slows down the appearance of wrinkles), heals hair and nails. And as in the case of men, celery also acts as an aphrodisiac for women.
Possible side effects
Despite the many health benefits, celery can cause allergic reactions in some people. Most allergens are found in the root of the vegetable. And this should be known to people prone to allergies.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers are obliged to refuse Roman parsley. In the first case, the vegetable can cause premature birth or bleeding, in the second case, it will give the milk an unpleasant taste. Also, vegetable juice is contraindicated in women with heavy menstruation, people with thrombophlebitis or varicose veins. The list of contraindications also includes hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases in the acute phase, deposition of stones, colitis, enterocolitis, cholecystitis.
Use in folk medicine
In folk medicine and herbal medicine, celery seeds are known as an effective antibacterial medicine. But in addition to seeds, herbalists actively use other parts of the plant.
This old Siberian recipe suggests treating frostbite with a decoction of celery. For a liter of water, you will need about 150 g of any part of the vegetable. In a still warm (but not hot) broth, lower frostbitten limbs and hold for about half an hour. Then rinse with cold clean water, pat dry with a soft towel or grease with goose fat. This procedure is best done at night, wrapping the frostbitten areas in heat. In some cases, treatment will have to be continued for 14 days.
For sleep disorders
Pour boiling water over crushed celery root (one and a half liters of water per 50 g of vegetable) and leave for at least 8 hours. Strain and consume three times a day before meals for a teaspoon.
Pure celery juice can be a good alternative to pharmacy multivitamins. In the spring, it is useful for both children and adults to take a teaspoon or a tablespoon of fresh juice before meals.
People with diabetes mellitus benefit from drinking 2-3 tablespoons of celery tea before each meal. A medicine is prepared from 20 g of dry herbs and a glass of boiling water in a water bath (about 15 minutes).
For freckles and age spots
Rub the fresh juice of the plant on problem areas daily. A decoction of the vegetable can be used as a tonic.
How to choose and store properly
In supermarkets, celery is available throughout the year, but the most delicious and healthy greens are considered to be harvested before flowering (up to 20 cm high). Leaves and cuttings should be fresh green, limp, crispy. The greener the leaves, the stronger their fragrance. You should not take goods with stains or rot, yellowed celery is also not suitable for human consumption. Healthy Roman parsley root is firm, free of rotten spots and bruises, and very fragrant. It is best to store in the refrigerator, wrapped in paper (but not longer than 5-7 days).
Today celery is an important part of many European cuisines, where all parts of this plant are used. The stems, root, and herbs can be eaten raw, baked, fried, or boiled. It is believed that for the first time this vegetable was cooked by Italian chefs in the 16th century. Today, celery is used to make omelets, casseroles, sauces, salads, and cocktails (it is a traditional component of the Bloody Mary drink). Celery leaves serve as a green condiment or garnish in dishes. The stems and root are suitable for preparing main dishes and salads.
Celery with Bacon, Apples and Almonds
For this dish, which goes well with roast game, chicken or duck, you will need:
- celery root (1 pc.);
- bacon (150 g);
- bow (1 pc.);
- apples (2 pcs.);
- butter (1 tablespoon);
- chicken broth (200 ml);
- almonds (50 g);
Large celery root cut into small cubes and stewed in oil. Add a little flour (about 2 tablespoons) and fry with a vegetable for several minutes. Pour in about half a glass of vegetable broth and a glass of milk, add spices. Serve with croutons.
These crunchy green stalks are extremely popular in Europe and the USA. There, fresh or cooked celery regularly appears on tables in the form of salads, side dishes, or as an ingredient in complex dishes. In our country, Roman parsley is just beginning to win well-deserved respect and love. But every day she has more and more fans.