4 • March 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

Redwing, MN. ~ Wild celery has been around for nearly 3,000 years, originally used as medicine, not as a food. Like it’s cousin smallage, it


near wet places

along the Mediter- ranean, through-

out Europe and the Caucasus. Smallage, cultivated in gar-

dens for fl avoring, is apparent- ly wild celery, the plant that has been used for medical purposes for

thousand of years. Cel-

ery is believed to be the same plant as selinon, which Homer describes in the “Odyssey” around 850 B.C. It was used by the ancient Greeks as an award in sports contests. In 30 A.D. a Roman encyclo- pedists medical journal points


out how celery seeds relieve pain. Asian water celery was praised for its medical uses, in a 5th century Chinese poem. The oldest record of the word celery comes from a 9th cen- tury medieval chronicle. The celery we know today, began to be bred as a fl avoring in Ital- ian gardens, during the 15th century. It’s fi rst use as a food was recorded in France around 1620. By the middle of the 17th century, the French and Italians were consuming the delicate stalks and leaves with an oil dress- ing.

Gar- den- ers

in Eu- rope and England

were improv- ing the

wild type while eliminating its strong, bitter fl avor. Growing the celery plants in late sum- mer and fall allowed them to

We don’t

know which group of immi- grants brought the plant to the America’s, but four cultivated varieties were recorded here by 1806. Celery has been com- mercially grown in the United

Eat Well & Prosper by Executive Chef Ron Skaar ~

be kept through the winter. By the mid-18th century, wealthy Swedish families enjoyed the wintertime luxury of celery that had been stored in the cellar. Celery cul-

tivation and use

spread rap- idly.

States for more than 150 years. In parts of Europe, celery has been preferred in a more deli- cately fl avored blanched form. This was originally pro- duced by covering the growing stalks, with soil, and then by growing pale green “self- blanching” varieties.

blanching sorts are

inferior cultivation

Self- in


the best green varieties,


Pascal and Utah. But, they can be grown suc-

cessfully under less favorable conditions of cli-

mate and soil. A bunch of cel- ery is actually called a stalk, which is made up of individual ribs or petioles.

These ribs are naturally crisp due to the strength of the plant’s cell walls and their high water content. They have a unique but subtle aroma due to compounds called phthalides, and terpenes which provide pine and citrus notes. Celery is often combined with carrots and onions in preparation for other dishes, like the French mirepoix or the Italian


frito. In the Cajun “trinity” of aromatics, the carrots are re- placed by sweet peppers. Cel- ery leaves add a mildly spicy fl avor to dishes. The seeds are put to use, as a spice, whole or ground, and utilized in the perfume industry. Celery salt is featured in Old Bay Season- ing and adds some extra tang to the Bloody Mary. An 8-inch rib contains a mere 6 calories, a good amount of vitamin C and potassium and some insoluble fi ber. It’s crunchy, chewy tex- ture contributes to a feeling of refreshment while satisfying your appetite.

November thru May is the

peak celery growing season and March is our national month to celebrate celery. It is also a vegetable grown using pesticides, making organic or freshly grown celery

prefer- 4 • March 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC. Mellow doesn’t always make for a good story, but it makes for a good life. ~ Anne Hathaway

EW & P Recipe March 2018



Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, fi nely diced 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Other Ingredients: 1 small red leaf head let tuce, leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces

12 celery stalks, thinly sliced (or julienned) 1/4-pound wedge pecorino cheese Optional garnishes: candied walnuts, crisp pancetta


Whisk together the fi rst six in- gredients listed above. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the celery in a bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper and marinate in 1/2 of the vinaigrette. Toss the lettuce with remaining vinai- grette and arrange on chilled salad plates. Divide the cel- ery evenly among the plates, placing each portion in a pile in the center of the lettuce. Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips of pecorino over each salad. Top each salad with a grind of pepper and additional garnishes, if desired. 6 to 8 servings.

able. Crisp celery, sharp salty cheese and fruity lemon vin- aigrette in

are above! paired perfectly the accompanying recipe

Chef Ron

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