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Celery

Celery is grown for its stalks, roots and seeds. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans used wild celery for its medicinal properties and used celery leaves, like bay leaves, to crown their victorious athletes. In the sixteenth century, the first cultivated form of celery was developed, and was usually eaten cooked. Celery grows as a cluster of long ridged stalks, which vary in colour from white to green. Celery stems are often grown under cover to prevent them from becoming too dark and too strong in flavour. Stems are eaten raw in salads; as crudités; cooked and served as a vegetable; braised in tomato or cream; or used as a base flavour in stocks and sauces. Celery leaves are used to add flavour to stocks and soups and the tender inner leaves can be used in salads or eaten with the stalk. Buy celery with crisp, fresh stems and not too big. Celery has a high water content so it should be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge wrapped in plastic. To revive wilted celery, sprinkle it with water and put in the fridge until it becomes crisp again.