The tuber and the green of the celery are an indispensable flavoring agent in the kitchen. Celeriac is often used in soups, while celery can be used raw as a green side dish. The raw enjoyment of the celery root and the green is not without hesitation. In exceptional cases, all types of celery can form certain components that cause toxic reactions. These ingredients are only neutralized by cooking.

Valuable ingredients

There are now around 30 different types of celery, which are divided into the following categories:

  • celery leaves
  • celery root
  • Sticks of celery or celery

Celery is also available as so-called bleached celery. To do this, the upper area is tied in and protected from sunlight, which means that the stems and some of the green pigment no longer form, turning them yellow to white. Although the green pigment is missing in this case, the celery plant is still rich in phytonutrients.

The most important ingredients at a glance:

  • Essential oils (responsible for the typical celery aroma)
  • flavonoids
  • Vitamine (A, B, C, D, E, K)
  • To demand
  • Potassium
  • calcium
  • Magnesium
  • folic acid

For example, the proportion of potassium in the raw state is particularly high. Around 100g of raw celery contains over 300mg of potassium. The vegetables also contain various healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates and are high in fiber.

Raw tubers

The tuber is not easy to eat raw. You have to clean them first and remove unsightly spots. You don’t necessarily have to peel the tuber. You can then grate the tuber, cut it into fine cubes or fine strips. In this form you can eat it together with other root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips as a raw vegetable salad.

Leaves as a garnish

Both bleached and unbleached celery greens have an intense flavor. For example, you can use plucked leaves as an edible garnish or sprinkle over salads. The leaves as part of the meals have a great advantage with their valuable ingredients in small amounts. It is particularly interesting that the celery plants contain phthalides in all parts from the root to the leaf, which provide the typical taste. The aroma is very intense in the leaves, which means that small amounts provide an interesting note of celery in raw food dishes.

Sticks as a snack

The bleached celery sticks are particularly attractive. You can bleach them yourself with a little effort. Several days or weeks before harvest, the celery is wrapped in cardboard or paper and the whole thing is fixed with a rubber band. Depending on how intensely you want the sticks to be bleached, the wrap stays around the sticks for one to three weeks.

Tip: You can use the sticks raw as part of salads. Cut into thin slices, they go well with bean salads and give them a special aroma.

Beware of pregnancy

The plants contain a number of essential oils, including apiol. This is usually a safe ingredient unless you are pregnant with celery greens or bulbs. Apiole is found in various plants and was used in the Middle Ages to induce abortions. Therefore, you should avoid both raw and cooked dishes with celery, especially during pregnancy.

Fungal celery bulbs

All celery species belonged to the umbelliferae family. These can form so-called furanocoumarins in greater or lesser concentrations. These ingredients are tasteless and are not directly toxic. In combination with UV light, the plant sap triggers a phototoxic reaction that can become very unpleasant. Large blisters that look similar to burn blisters can form on skin areas that come into contact with the plant sap, such as the lips when eating.

Furanocoumarins are plant defense substances that are formed to protect against various dangers or predators. Celeriac root, leaf and stalk are usually free of furanocoumarins. If the plant is attacked by the fungus Sclerotina sclerotiorum, it forms these coumarins as protection.

The fungus occurs on a variety of vegetable crops. An infestation is usually easy to recognize, because part of the damage is the clearly visible white fungal network. Parts of the plant above ground can wither and later die. In an advanced stage, roots or tubers are also affected and begin to rot. Because of this damage, Sclerotina sclerotiorum is also referred to as follows:

  • white-stalkedness
  • white rot
  • Stem foul
Note: The fungus can occur not only in the plants in the garden. If a plant becomes infected, the fungus can spread to harvested plants in the storeroom or refrigerator.

You should never eat infected plants. Their taste would also be unpleasant due to the infestation. Even apparently unaffected parts can already have an unpleasant taste. For this reason, it is recommended not to eat celery parts raw, since the fungus itself is not poisonous, but the plant may have developed furanocoumarins as protection. There is nothing wrong with eating healthy raw celery.

Danger for allergy sufferers

Allergy sufferers must be careful with all types of celery. People who are allergic to mugwort pollen are primarily at risk. They usually have a cross-allergy, the celery-carrot-mugwort syndrome. In people who are severely allergic, contact with celery plants can trigger an allergic reaction that can go as far as anaphylactic shock, for example when eating it.

Celery greens or the bulbs are often classified as better tolerated when cooked, but this is often no longer sufficient for severe allergy sufferers. Allergy sufferers should clarify possible dangers with the doctor before consumption.

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