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vegetablel nutrition

Food & Drink, Vegetable Garden

Celeriac – An Unusual Root for a Simple Soup

January 21, 2015

If you’re shopping in supermarkets this winter you may have noticed a ‘new’ vegetable on the shelves – a strange-looking root veg that looks like a misshapen ‘turnip’ (swede), a vegetable the creators of Dr Who could easily have crafted into an alien creature…

Celeriac - An Unusual Root for a Simple Soup

If you haven’t come across Celeriac before, do look out for it as it makes one of the tastiest soups and creamiest purées I’ve tasted in a long while and can highly recommend you try it.

Celeriac has been available for some time in farmers markets and is certainly not new, having been grown and then introduced into *Britain in the 18th Century from the Mediterranean area. It’s rich in Vitamin K which helps bone mass (100g of celeriac can provide over a third of our daily allowance), as well as a healthy dose of fibre. I bought a beauty from a local grower in Kilkenny last Christmas, but it’s the first time I’ve seen these particular roots in local stores.

I’ve mentioned before that vegetables live in families and this deceptively flavoursome vegetable is related to carrots, parsnips and celery – all members of the Apacaea family, a group of vegetables that Scientists at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne are currently researching in relation to their positive effect on cancer and inflammatory diseases. According to the University:

Polyacetylenes are natural plant chemicals that protect the plant from attack and only occur in vegetables of the carrot family and a few other closely related species such as ginseng.

Celeriac, as its name suggests, tastes like a rootier, milder version of celery.

Growing Celeriac

Celeriac is a slow grower so patience is a virtue, though once harvested will store for several months if kept cool and dry. It can be a tad tricky to grow successfully as it doesn’t like the weather to be too hot (not usually a problem here), it needs lots of regular watering (which can cause fungus if it’s warm and humid) and is very shallow rooted (it’s important the roots aren’t disturbed).

Celeriac - An Unusual Root for a Simple SoupTo give celeriac the best chance, it’s recommended by some gardeners to sow the seeds inside in seed trays 10 weeks before last frosts, before planting out in well prepared soil. In Ireland that would be around the end of February and I should add at this point that I’ve yet to successfully grow this vegetable. I did come close but it never quite developed enough root before I got fed up waiting and pulled it up. Never one to give in, this year I’ll be trying the seed tray method with a liberal dash of finger crossing and will let you know how I get on. I might also try growing a few in our polytunnel, which is where our carrots fare best as the soil inside isn’t as heavy as outside.

Cooking Celeriac

Celariac - An Unusual Root for a Simple Soup

Celeriac le Campagne way: warm celeriac mousse, pickled pear, celeriac chutney, hazelnut dressing & Parmesan crisp

When I spotted a large box of celeriac in the local store before Christmas I reached out for a couple in case they sold out never to be replaced. I’ve since added them to my weekly shopping basket. It’s amazing how appreciative we become of food when we know how tricky it is to grow.

Celeriac can be pureed, mashed, made into soup, steamed or boiled, just like other root veg. I’ve written a few simple soup recipes on this blog before, but here’s another for the collection.

Simple Celeriac Soup Recipe

Celeriac - An Unusual Root for a Simple SoupServes 4 – 6

Half a celeriac root, peeled and chopped
Shallot, peeled and chopped
Garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Half a potato peeled and chopped
1.2 ltr water
Vegetable stock cube
Salt & freshly grated pepper
Spray of oil or a dash of butter

Melt the butter or spritz the base of a large saucepan with oil and cook the shallot gently until it begins to caramalise then add the garlic, celeriac and potato, stirring all the ingredients together.

Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat then add the vegetable stock then season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn up the heat, bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Remove the pan from the heat, pour the soup carefully into a liquidiser and blitz until all the ingredients are combined.

This is a thick soup so if you prefer it a little thinner, add some milk or hot water to thin it out. You could also try adding a chopped apple or carrot into the pan to simmer with the vegetables to give it a different flavour.

Once liquidised, pour the soup into bowls to serve.

Nutrition for 4 people per person: Calories 65, Fat (g) 1.6, Carbs (g) 12.1, Protein (g) 1.9 

 Have you tried growing or eating celeriac? What’s your verdict? How do you eat it?

*source Merriam-Webster, an Encyclopedia Britannica company


Food & Drink

Did you know that Brussels sprouts contain more Vitamin C than any other veg?

February 8, 2011
Our children are currently participating in the Food Dudes programme in their school (funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food and managed by Bord Bia), which is giving all the kids the opportunity to try lots of fruit and veg they might be unwilling to try at home.
The idea is that if they try eating certain fruit and veg a few times over the 16 school day period they win prizes. So far they’ve brought home pencils and sharpeners, juggling balls, pencil cases and notebooks. More importantly we now have kids who are enthusiastic and inquisitive about what they eat and why they eat it.
So along with this programme came the questions….. “What vitamin is good for your eye sight mum?” or “what are oranges good for?” Some of the questions were easier to answer than others – some I knew straight away and others I had to look up.
So as much to keep a record for myself as to share the info with others, here are the answers. No wonder it’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. It’s a wonder most of us are walking on this planet at all.  First off, a few Interesting facts:
Asparagus – a single portion can provide twice the body’s daily requirements.
Broccoli and Kale provide half the body’s daily requirements.
Brussels sprouts contain more vitamin C than any other veg.
Onions contain powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and antiseptic properties.
Four strawberries a day can provide more vitamin C than an orange.
Watercress is one of the healthiest natural super foods available.
The body can only absorb 5% to 20% of iron it needs from vegetable sources.
What it’s good for
A/pro A
Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Bean, French Beans,  Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Calabrese, Carrots,  Courgette, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Melon, Okra, Parsley, Peas, Red Chilli’s, Pumpkin, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sweet corn, Swede, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Red & Yellow Peppers,  Turnip, Watercress, Apricots, Peaches, Mangoes, Passion Fruit, Papayas, Plums & Watermelons.
For growth, healthy skin and hair, good vision and healthy tooth enamel.
(Beta-carotene, found in orange, yellow and green veg & fruit is converted into vitamin A in the body.)
B6 Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, B1 & B6 Cauliflower, B1 Peas,  B1 Pumpkin, B1 Winter Squash, Sweet corn, Swede, B1 & B6  Watercress, Potatoes, Bananas, Dried Fruits
A family of vitamins needed to make energy, the nervous system and red blood cells.
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Bean, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale
Brussels Sprouts, Savoy Cabbage, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Courgette, Fennel, Kiwi,  Kohl Rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Melon, Parsley,  Parsnip, Peas, Red Chilli’s, Rosehips, Pumpkin, Radish, Raspberries, Rhubarb stalks, Spinach, Summer Spring Greens, Squash, Sweet corn, Strawberries, Swede, Swiss Chard, Tomato, Turnip
Needed for growth and healthy body tissue. Important in the healing of wounds. Helps the body absorb iron.
Made by Sunlight
Important for healthy bones and teeth. Essential for absorption of calcium & phosphorous.
Avocados, Asparagus, Blackberries, Courgette, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Winter Squash, Watercress
Needed to help develop and maintain strong cells, especially in the blood. Shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
French Beans, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Parsley, Swiss Chard
Important for proper clotting of the blood and maintaining strong bones.
Folic Acid
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, French Beans, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Courgette, Kohl Rabi , Leek, Lettuce, Parsley, Peas, Strawberries, Turnip
Needed to create healthy blood cells and to help the body absorb iron.
Artichoke, Watercress, spinach, curly kale, broccoli, okra, apricots, dried figs
Helps maintain strong teeth and bones
Artichoke, Runner Beans, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi,  Parsley, Turnip, Watercress
Needed for healthy blood and muscles.
Summer Squash, okra, peas, sweet corn, courgettes, parsnips, apricots, raisins, bananas
Essential for normal muscle and nerve function, and the release of energy in the body, building strong bones, teeth and muscles, regulating body temperature.
Beetroot, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi, Summer Squash, Turnip
Important trace element for enzyme activity in the body and for normal bone formation.
Artichoke, Aubergine, Celery, Celeriac,  Cucumber, Leek,  Melon, Parsnip, Mangetout, Radish
Works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance, heart rhythm, nerve impulses and muscle function.
Found in many fruit & veg but content depends on whether the soil they’re grown in is deficient.
Needed in tiny but regular amounts for maintaining a healthy liver.
Watercress, fresh peas, spinach, asparagus, dried apricots, figs, raisins, pulses.
Important trace element that helps maintain a healthy immune system. Essential for helping wounds heal, reproduction and normal development.
In all fruit & vegetables.
Prevents constipation and feeds friendly gut bacteria. Soluble fibres can help lower cholesterol.
Broad Bean, Sweet corn, Protein
Parsnip, Potato, yams

References:  Jane Clarke’s Bodyfoods for Life, Thompson and Morgan