Are You Eating the Right Type of Celery? – Heart, Root, or Seeds?

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paleo celery - what's the difference between celery, celery heart, celery root?

Isn’t Celery Just Celery?

I was actually really lucky growing up – my mum cooked a lot, and so I got to know common fruits and vegetables (and even some exotic ones) pretty well. However, I have to admit, I was was really confused when it came to celery. I had eat celery plenty as a kid, but I had always called it “celery.” So what the heck were hearts and roots?

It turns out that they’re not all the same thing as I’ll explain below.

What is Celery?

paleo celery
As you probably know, celery is this crunchy green vegetable often used to dip into various dressings or as an ingredient in salads. It’s frequently eaten raw, and has the silly myth of being a negative calorie food.

What is Celery Heart?

paleo celery heart
I used to think that these were some special type of celery that magically looked clean and came in a plastic bag. But actually, they’re just a cleaned up celery without all the leaves and the outer (often tougher) stalks. You can effective buy “normal” celery, take off around 4 outer stalks, chop off the top of the celery where the leaves are, and voila, you’ve got a celery heart.

What is Celery Root (Celeriac)?

paleo celery root
You might be tempted to think that this is just what grows at the bottom of a celery plant, and you’d be sort of right and sort of wrong.

Celery root (more correctly called celeriac) is the “root” (it’s technically a tuber even though it’s called a root) of a type of celery plant (so your “normal” celery does not have that big bulb hanging onto it).

Celeriac has a similar flavor to normal celery (although it’s not as strong), and it’s a lot more starchy than normal celery.

Celeriac is great for in soups, mash, casseroles, and stews (like other root vegetables).

What about Celery Seeds?

paleo celery seeds
Celery seeds are as you might have guessed the seeds of celery plants, but they’re actually from a different variety of celery to normal celery or celeriac. The variety is called smallage, and they’re grown for the seeds (the stalks are too stringy to be good tasting).

Celery seeds are used as a spice and can be bought whole or ground. I’ve actually never used it much, but this website gives some ideas for how they can be used (watch out – not all of the ideas are Paleo!).

And What’s Pink Celery?

paleo pink celery
I have never seen this variety of celery, but it does exist! And it’s not the same as rhubarb or swiss chard, even if they look sort of similar.

What type of Celery are you eating?

Have you ever had celeriac and celery seed? Have you ever seen Pink Celery? Let me know in the comments below.

Images: photo credit: Chiot’s Run, Dinner Series, seaoat, avlxyz, The Adventures of Kristin & Adam, and Pulseman.

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Richard mcleod March 18, 2014, 8:42 pm

    Good information. I have been buying the celery heart thinking they were the best.


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Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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