Monday, February 3, 2020

RECIPE: How to Clean and Cook Celeriac (celery root)

I thought I had posted this information last winter but I can't find the post so I guess I didn't.  Sorry!

Celeriac is the root of a plant related to celery, but in which we eat the root, not the stalks.  It's harvested in the fall and we enjoy it until about the end of February.   

How to Prepare Celeriac 

It can be eaten raw or cooked and has a very mild flavor, sort of like celery and parsley combined.

You can 'feature' it, as I do when I serve it instead of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, or you can use it instead of celery in recipes like bolognese sauce, cabbage and kielbasa stewveal ragout , and meatballs.  I've also found it to be a good substitute for cauliflower, as in this delicious soup.

One classic preparation is Celeriac Remoulade, raw celeriac in a remoulade sauce.  There are many other cooking techniques explained HERE, or you can search the Recipes I Want To Try page on this blog for some that I've found on the internet.  I listed a few below:

Creamy 4-ingredient carrot soup (carrots, celeriac, onions, miso) 

I find celeriac especially useful for making meat broth/stock or veggie broth when there's no celery in the farm store.  I cut it into 1/2" cubes and freeze it to use over the summer. 

How To Clean Celeriac

The roots in our farm store are covered in dirt, which helps them to keep for as long as they do.  If I'm not going to use them immediately, I store them in the fridge WITH THEIR DIRT.  You can clean them first but they won't last as long.

There are two ways to clean them:

1) scrub vigorously with a stiff brush, washing all that beautiful dirt down the drain.  I don't usually do this because I want that beneficial dirt in my compost pile!  Scrubbed this way, they will keep in the fridge for a week or two.

Dirty root on the far left....clean root from all angles on the right
2) To save the dirt for our compost pile, I use a large knife to cut away the top and the root end and then toss those in my compost bucket.  

Dirt removed to save for compost
At this point, whether you scrubbed or sliced, you need to use a vegetable peeler to remove the remaining skin, which is tough and inedible.  Drop the peeled root into a bowl of acidulated water to prevent it from turning brown, and then cook it in acidulated water to prevent it from browning while cooking. 

Celeriac cleaned and sliced.

Once it's peeled, there are many different cooking techniques explained HERE.

When you slice it, if the center is a bit spongy, it's OK to eat.  I remove the hairs if they're brown.

How to Freeze Celeriac 

There are no approved recipes for canning celeriac, probably due to the dirty exterior, so I freeze it.  I cut it into 1/2" cubes and then vacuum seal.  I don't blanch because it's going directly into the stock pot and I don't care about texture.

In the photo below, the bag is all wrinkled because I wash and reuse the bags.

Celeriac vacuum sealed for freezer.

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