The December Vegetable of the Month is Celery!
Celery is a highly versatile, low-calorie vegetable that can be chopped, dipped, crunched, stuffed, blended, stir-fried and enjoyed raw right after you wash it. It contains an impressive amount of nutrients and is a natural health booster, thanks to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Celery also makes a great addition to your holiday veggie tray!
Celery is a great source of:
- Vitamin K to support the immune system and help heal cuts
- Folate for healthy blood
- Vitamin A for healthy eyes
Did you know?
- Celery crops don’t do well in hot weather. They thrive in mild winters, cool summers, or long and cool fall growing seasons.
- The oldest record of the word celeri is in a 9th century French or Italian poem. It lists the plant’s medicinal uses and benefits. (During the Middle Ages, celery was used as a medicinal plant to treat toothaches and arthritis!)
- In the 17th and 18th centuries, European gardeners figured out how to cultivate celery for culinary purposes. By the middle of the 18th century, wealthy families in Sweden were eating celery that had been stored in their cellars. From then on, the vegetable became widely used.
- The best celery is pale to bright green, crisp and snaps apart easily.
- You can wrap celery in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
Why crunch on some celery?
- Enjoy some Zzzzzz’s. Celery is known to promote relaxation and sleep.
- Keep things moving. Because celery is high in fiber (one cup contains 5 grams!), it acts as a digestive aid.
- Attack your arthritis. Celery has about 25 anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Quench your thirst. The water content of celery is almost 95%, so it keeps you hydrated while helping your digestion.
- Surplus your smoothies. Go ahead and blend up those leaves–they have lots of calcium, potassium and Vitamin C.
Four ways to eat more celery
- Bring the heat! Bake, steam, microwave or stir-fry celery–it goes with just about anything.
- Dice, dice baby. Dice up celery and add to soups or stews, or sprinkle on top of chili for an extra healthy crunch.
- Perfect your party platter. Dip raw or lightly cooked celery into low-fat vegetable dressing, hummus, guacamole or salsa.
- Turn on the texture. Add to mashed potatoes, stuffing and salads for a little extra crunch.
Celerybrate with Apple Celery Salad!
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup apples, chopped and cored
- 1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
- 1 ½-Tablespoon non-fat plain yogurt
- ½-Tablespoon non-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1 ½ Tablespoon 100% apple juice
- 2 Tablespoons raisins or Craisins
- Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine celery, apples, raisins and walnuts. Mix.
- In a small bowl, mix yogurts together with apple juice and blend thoroughly.
- Pour dressing over apple mixture. Mix well to coat.
Recipe from SDSU Extension
Super Celery Juice
- 1 bunch celery (roughly 8–9 medium stalks), trimmed and cleaned
- 1/2 green apple, optional
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
- Run the celery and green apple through a juicer. Stir in the lemon juice.
- This juice is best served fresh. Add ice, if desired.
Recipe from Healthline
Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!