Celeriac (apium graveolens L. var. Rapaceum) is a herbaceous vegetable plant measuring 50 to 80 centimeters generally consumed as a vegetable. Its leaves are fragrant and its tuberous base forms a white "ball" of 10 centimeters which is edible and which weighs from 800 grams to one kilo. This root vegetable is easy to grow and keeps very well during the winter.
Cultivation of celeriac
Unlike celery, celeriac has a very developed root and sparse foliage. This plant appreciates a light, fresh, deep but also humus soil, as well as a sunny exposure. Sowing takes place towards the end of February and until April, under a frame or in a greenhouse. To sow in the nursery, you have to wait until mid-April. During the germination of the seeds which takes place fifteen to twenty days after, it is necessary to make a transplanting or even two, before the final planting around the middle of May. A minimum gap of 35 centimeters between each plant is recommended, and it should not be forgotten that celeriac is planted with the collar located at ground level.
Maintenance and harvesting of celeriac
To maintain the plants, it is useful to cover them with compost and straw, but also to water them regularly. A darkening of the heart would indicate a boron deficiency, and a hollow vegetable is the sign relating to an excess of fertilizer. It is also important to remove the damaged leaves and rootlets at the end of the summer. During the harvest, which generally begins before the first frosts, the roots must be left on the ground for a day before being stored in a place that is both cool and humid. If the winter is mild, celeriac can remain in the ground provided that it is covered with mulch.
Use of celeriac: conservation, consumption and nutritional value
This root vegetable can be eaten raw in the form of a salad, sliced, grated or according to a popular recipe: celery remoulade. It can also be cooked in gratin, stew, mash, soup, fries or simply stir-fry. As for the leaves, they are often used for their aromatic qualities. Celeriac keeps very well during winter in a cellar, for example, after having dried them one or two days in the open air. Very low in calories, this vegetable is rich in fiber but also in potassium, which makes it an excellent ally against cardiovascular problems.