Also Known as
Ajmoda, Celery Stalks, Shalari, Ajmud
Celery has become a common household staple along with carrots, onions and potatoes. Celery grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and is composed of leaf-topped stalks arranged in a conical shape that are joined at a common base. Celery is a biennial vegetable (meaning it has a normal life cycle of two years) that belongs to the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include carrots, fennel, parsley and dill. The stalks have a crunchy texture and a delicate, but have a mild salty taste. The stalks in the center are called the heart and are tender.
Break off the stalks that you need, and wash them under cold running water, using your fingers to rub off any clinging soil. Chop and use as needed.
How to Select
Trim celery first by cutting off both ends Wash celery stalks thoroughly, and then dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, Slice celery stalks beginning at the narrow end and slice to desired thickness.
Choose celery that looks crisp and snaps easily when pulled apart. It should be relatively tight and compact and not have stalks that splay out. The leaves should be pale to bright green in color and free from yellow or brown patches. To check for damage, separate the stalks and look for brown or black discoloration. In addition, evaluate the celery to ensure that it does not have a seed stem-the presence of a round stem in the place of the smaller tender stalks that should reside in the center of the celery. Celery with seed stems are often more bitter in flavor. Culinary Uses
" Its crunchy texture and distinctive flavor makes it a popular addition to salads and many cooked dishes.
" Enjoy the delicious tradition of eating cream or butter on cooked celery stalks.
" Next time you are making fresh squeezed carrot juice give it a unique taste dimension by adding some celery to it. How to Store
To store celery, place it in a sealed container or wrap it in a plastic bag or damp cloth and store it in the refrigerator. If you are storing cut or peeled celery, ensure that it is dry and free from water residue, as this can drain some of its nutrients. Freezing will make celery wilt and should be avoided unless you will be using it in a future cooked recipe. Celery should not be kept at room temperature for too long since, because of its high water content, it has a tendency to wilt quickly Health benefits
" Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including phalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention.
" The sodium content of celery tends to prevent and relieve the arthritic joint.
" It is valuable in treating Anaemia, Leukaemia because of its high iron and magnesium content.
" Effective remedy for Indigestion and Insomnia.