October’s crunchy offering – celery

10 Oct

Did you know: Celery can lower your blood pressure! Celery contains compounds called “phthalides”, which can help relax the muscles around the arteries and allow blood to flow at a lower pressure. So keep on munching for good health.  

History: The celery we know today started out as wild celery and has origins in northern Africa and southern Europe. The main difference between wild celery and what we use today is that wild celery has less stalks and more leaves.  Celery has a long history of use, first as medicine and seasoning, and later as food. In the famous Odyssey, written by the famous Greek poet, Homer – celery appeared as far back as 9th century B.C. The ancient Greeks made decorative head pieces called “laurels” out of celery leaves to adorn their top athletes.

 Why celery is great: Celery has many great health promoting properties! Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C that helps support the immune system, as well as vitamins B1, B2, A, and minerals phosphorus and iron. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. This is why celery is thought of as a tonic for high blood pressure as these minerals are helpful in reducing blood pressure. 

Celery is harvested in New York in late summer and early autumn. Celery grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and has leaf-topped stalks that are joined at a common base.  It is related to carrots, fennel, parsley and dill, all members of the “umbelliferae” family.

There are many ways to enjoy eating celery.  The classic snack “Ants on a Log”, celery with nut butter and raisins is always a hit.  You can add chopped celery to your favorite egg, chicken or tuna salad recipe, and slice it diagonally and add to Asian inspired vegetable stir-frys. Add celery to fresh carrot juice for a refreshing twist. Celery is near the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen “list of foods high in pesticides, choose organic whenever possible.

How to pick great stalks?

You want celery that snaps easily and looks crisp.  Look for leaves that are pale in color and have no yellow or brown patches. Celery lasts 4-7 days in the crisper of your fridge. If you need to revive a few stalks, chop them and put in cold water for 20 minutes and eat right away.

One Response to “October’s crunchy offering – celery”

  1. buelita October 10, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    Thanks for yet one more wonderful informative tip – we will try and eat more celery from now on!

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