Flying Tomato Survey–Plant It or Eat It?


This humble vegetable is called celeriac, or celery root. Though it looks like something you’d really want to have surgically removed, I’ve heard it’s remarkably tasty underneath its knobbly exterior.

I have never eaten one, but I was able to purchase this fantastically rare specimen (in these parts) at the Floyd Boulevard Local Foods Market (also known as the Firehouse Market) down in Sioux City. It actually wasn’t that rare there–they had a bunch of them, so I could go back and buy more.

Here’s my quandary–celeriac is a biennial. That means it sets seed in its second year. If I plant this root in the spring, I will most likely be able to collect seeds from it to plant next year.  That this celery root was grown locally means its offspring will likely grow well for me, too.

I could also eat it.  If I do, I’ll want a simple recipe that highlights its flavor, so I can decide if it’s worthwhile to grow on a larger scale for myself and my customers (if I could get people to buy it–its looks might make it a hard sell).

Readers–weigh in: Should I eat it or plant it?


7 responses to this post.

  1. is celeraic like potatoes in that you just plant a sprouting chunk of it, or do you have to plant the whole thing?

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on March 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Hi Jen–

    Thanks for the comment!

    You have the plant the whole thing–like a beet or carrot. The top (pointing a bit downward in the image) sprouts celery-like (and celery-tasting) leaves, and I would guess an umbelliferous seed head.

    By the way–love your blog. Hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blogroll.


  3. Mmmm, I love celeriac salad. In France, it’s the usual way you’ll meet celeriac. (They tend to call it “salade de céleri.” The stalk-type celery is pretty much unknown there.) I’ve made it a couple of times with julienned celeriac, but it is pretty laborious to julienne celeriac, as it feels a bit like cutting wood. I found a recipe that calls for coarsely grated celeriac, which is probably easier and still tasty. I’d be inclined to leave out the grated apple from that recipe, though, as the salad I know is just about savoriness, without any sweetness.

    I guess my vote would be to eat some! And maybe get another one to plant.

    (And thanks for the link to my blog, by the way!)

  4. Posted by flyingtomato on March 18, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Ooh! That recipe looks great!



  5. Thanks! well, knowing that you have to plant the whole thing, my vote would be…… eat it, see if you like it, if so, buy another and plant it.

  6. Well you’ve opened a favorite topic for me, because root vegies are so awesome. Celeriac is pretty popular in chef circles. They roast it and make it into a puree (sometimes with roasted garlic) and then plate other beautiful items with it, like roast venison and fruit compote.

    I use it in combination with other root vegies, roasted together with parsnips, turnips, rutabegas, carrots, and
    onions. Or I sometimes boil it and mash it with potatoes to top Shepherd’s Pie. And I include it among the vegies in my Winter Vegetable Chowder recipe. I’ve also had it grated in salad, and concur that it is equally excellent used fresh.

    Celeriac is unusual and unfamiliar and, as you say, may be a hard sell. But if you can just get people to try it, they’ll be hooked.

    So… while I’ve certainly eaten my fair share (and highly recommend doing so), I’ve never grown it myself. I look forward to hearing about it!

    Deborah (DJ)

  7. definetely eat it. then share it. 🙂

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