Celery…. More Than Just Stalks

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When you think of celery, if you only think of stalks… you’re missing out.

Stalk celery is the only celery most Canadians know because it’s usually the only celery found in local grocery stores. Yet, there is another type of celery in most Asian dishes and… more popular in other countries.

With it’s longer history of use, it goes by many names such as khuen chai, kan-tsai, kin-tsai, kun choy, qin cai, kinchay.  Some know it as cutting celery.

Around here we simply call it “Chinese” or “Leaf Celery”.

On our farm, we now grow celery. You’re already familiar with the stalk type so today we’ll introduce you to the other type, beginning with how you can make use of it.

How to Use Chinese Celery

Chinese or Leaf Celery tastes similar to the more familiar stalk type celery, only more strongly flavoured, and generally cooked before eating. Cooking makes it sweeter while softening the stalks.

This type of celery is preferred in Thai and Chinese cooking. You can toss it in stir-fries, fried rice dishes or vegetable sautés. It pairs well with lamb, turkey, and venison. Around our house, we really like it chopped fine and added to omelettes and soups.

The entire plant is chopped up and cooked, yet compared to Stalk Celery, a little goes a long way when you’re looking to add a little celery flavour. The stronger flavour of Chinese Celery makes it excellent for making your own Celery Salt… an easy thing for you to do.

Like stalk celery, it pairs well with humus, cheese and peanut butter.

Here’s The Difference

Compare celery types
Chinese Celery compared to Stalk Celery.

Chinese Celery looks like a large version of Italian parsley, with thin stalks. In fact, put next to Italian Parsley and it’s hard to see the difference!

Taste a leaf though, and you’ll know which is which.

This tasty celery tends to more fibrous stalks than regular celery. Chinese Celery may appear somewhat limp, while still quite fresh and very good quality.

What to Do With Celery When You Get it Home

To Keep Celery Fresh for a week or so,

  • Wrap it in damp paper towels; put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • Do not wash until ready to use.
  • When ready to use it, clean it in cold water
  • Gently shake off excess water pat dry and prepare.

You can also dry it for longer term storage or for use in making celery salt.

Here’s how to dry it.

Three ways to dry Celery

  • hang the stems upside down in a ventilated area,
  • or spread them out on a large plate or cookie sheet in a well ventilated area and turn daily until dry,
  • or chop into small pieces and dry using a dehydrator.

The stalks and leaves dry very well and can be stored whole or crumbled.

To use simply add your dried celery to soup, or stew allowing time to simmer and rehydrate before serving.

If you want to make celery salt click here.


More Reasons Why Leaf Celery Might Interest You

Chinese Celery, the precursor to modern celery, has a long history of use stretching back for centuries. Ancient Greeks cooked with it and the Romans used it in their decorative garlands, while in China, leaf celery Celery has long been a dietary staple. 

There, it’s widely believed to aid digestion, but that’s not all this vegetable is valued for.

Traditional Chinese Medicine values all parts of the Chinese Celery plant. Practitioners use it as a detoxifier and a diuretic, to lower blood pressure, to treat arthritis and to improve eyesight.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, celery is considered helpful in treating cold and flu symptoms, liver ailments, and improve digestion.

More recently, scientists have confirmed the value of Chinese Celery.

Modern science has found it contains apigenin, an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral compound helpful in supporting immunity.

Testing has shown it to be a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially A and K, sodium, potassium, calcium, manganese and magnesium. It’s also high in folic acid and niacin, both essential for optimum metabolism. 

While being packed with nutrition, it’s also very low in calories… so it’s great for most of us. However, there is something else you should be aware of…

Something You Should Be Aware Of

Celery is related to dill, cilantro and carrots. Similar to these, it can trigger severe allergic reactions in some people… so it’s not quite for everyone.

To get started with Chinese Celery, here’s a quick recipe.

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