October 2017 Plant Profile: Apium graveolens var. rapaceum

hand holding Celery Root
Celery root grown on the UW Farm

If you are a regular at your local farmers’ market, it’s likely you will be starting to see these odd looking roots show up in vegetable grower’s booths.  Don’t be alarmed by the way they look! Celeriac, also known as Celery Root, is a great addition to your rotation of fall root foods!

Celeriac is a member of the Apiaceae (or Umbel) family and is a close relative of celery.  At the UW farm, we plant seeds in trays in our greenhouse in early March and transplant them outdoors in mid May at least 1 foot apart from each other.  Like celery, the celeriac grows slowly throughout the season, and loves to be kept moist in well-watered soil.  You’ll see them grow much more in late August and into early September.  At the UW farm, you can expect to see these in CSA boxes and served up on campus starting in early October.

Celeriac can be harvested throughout the fall and up to the first hard frost by pulling the plant out of the ground and removing the long roots and leaves.  Once harvested, they can be stored without greens in an open plastic bag in the fridge and will last for at least 6 weeks.  We love introducing our members and students to the delicious qualities of this lesser known vegetable.  Use the root in a mash, soups, stews, gratin, or matchstick sliced with a creamy dressing.  The subtle celery notes and creamy texture add great depth of flavor.  The stalks and leaves need not be discarded!  Though they can be somewhat fibrous and strong, a small amount will add great flavor to homemade vegetable stock. (PLEASE DO NOT HARVEST PRODUCE FROM THE FARM)

Common Name:  celeriac or celery root.
Location: UW Farm at the Center for Urban Horticulture
Origin: Native to the Mediterranean Basin

Celery Root plants
Celery root growing on the UW Farm