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-   -   C'mon, celery! Don't disappoint me again! (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=878412)

2Bits 07-08-2019 03:01 PM

C'mon, celery! Don't disappoint me again!
 
Please share your most reliable technique for selecting good-tasting celery. Or perhaps confirm that none exists!

Miller 07-08-2019 03:02 PM

"Taste" isn't generally something I associate with celery.

2Bits 07-08-2019 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 21738507)
"Taste" isn't generally something I associate with celery.

Once in a blue moon.....

Chronos 07-08-2019 03:34 PM

Raw celery has very little flavor (though it does have some), and mostly exists for its texture.

Cooked celery, however, somehow manages to have a lot of flavor, and contributes it to whatever it's cooked with, and is an indispensable ingredient in stuffing and in many soups and stews.

teela brown 07-08-2019 03:58 PM

If you're selecting for tenderness because you want to eat it raw as is or diced into, say, tuna salad, look for paleness. The greener the celery, the more likely it is to be slightly bitter and tough. The bitterness and toughness won't matter much in a stew or soup, though.

I like pale, young, tender celery to eat just as it is, or spread with peanut butter, or chopped generously into potato salad.

BrickBat 07-08-2019 04:07 PM

A question that always bugged me about celery:

Why does some ( and you can't really tell from the outside ) have a white "pithy" wide vien along the length of the stalk? Grosses me out: I won't eat it.

ftg 07-08-2019 04:07 PM

Another vote for lighter green for raw eating. Thick, juicy stalks. If you can see well into the bunch, pass.

The scrawny, darker green ones are for cooks who like bitterness and fiber.

OTOH, it is easy to go too pale. Then the stalks are floppy and off-tasting.

pulykamell 07-08-2019 04:24 PM

Lighter green is generally more tender and mellower. I typically go for medium green, as I like the flavor, but don't want it as tough as the dark green. Celery has a pretty noticeable taste, IMHO. I happen to like it, but it's pretty obvious to me in a soup, especially if I overdo the celery by a little bit, or that it's missing if I don't put it in at all. I just don't understand people who say it's "flavorless." And, no, I'm not a supertaster. (And I don't like it much in its raw form because I don't find the flavor goes well with most of the things it's typically eaten with.)

2Bits 07-08-2019 05:45 PM

Well, the OP prefers his celery crunchy, not “tender.” When I luck upon a good bunch it’s generally darker green (mature?) but somehow not overly stringy.

Unfortunately most of the time it’s bitter or rubbery or stringy. Sometimes all three!


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Chefguy 07-08-2019 06:57 PM

Dark green=bitter, in my veggie experience. I think celery has a pleasant peppery taste.

snfaulkner 07-08-2019 07:12 PM

None exists. Bad, but tolerable. Not worth picking out of whatever has it. Which somehow makes it worse than if it was intolerable.

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=821115

TruCelt 07-08-2019 07:59 PM

It's all in the ribs, which indicate how hard the plant had to work to get enough water as it grew. Look at the strings along the outside edge of the largest stalks.

If you like sharp, strong celery flavor, then you want strings that are thick and stick out a lot. Generally these will be on long thin stalks with a darker green color.

If you want mild, sweet-tasting celery then you want thin strings and the smoothest possible surface. Generally these will be on broad thick stalks with a lighter green to white color.

mixdenny 07-09-2019 01:14 AM

AS others have mentioned, look for light green. I think the wide stalks are better also. The worst celery I ever tried to eat was some pricey organic brand. God lord, was it bitter. One of the few vegetables I have thrown out.

Dennis

CairoCarol 07-09-2019 02:21 AM

Celery exists in four forms:

1) Celery seed. This is a delicious flavoring if used judiciously (don't overdo it, because it is strong) in broth making, or added to a stew or soup.

2) Celery leaves. These should be used because waste is bad and celery leaves are harmless. Chop them finely and throw them into a soup, stew, stir-fry, casserole, whatever. They won't hurt, and if you are lucky they may add color, flavor, and nutrition.

3) Celery stalks. If they are stringy, and you want to eat them as is, peel them and throw out the nasty outer stringy bits. In my experience, the greener the celery, the more likely you'll have to de-string before consuming. Otherwise, a stalk or two of celery thrown into the crockpot while broth-making is a perfectly good way to use up celery. (The rubbery, cooked, and now-flavorless stalks get removed when the the broth is strained. You can also chop the celery very fine so you don't have to worry about stringiness, and sauté it for adding to raw hamburger patties or Cajun food or whatever.

4) Dried sliced celery stalks from Penzey's. Good if you want to make a broth or stew, but don't have fresh celery to throw in.

That's all I got. If celery in every form were to vanish from the Earth tomorrow, I wouldn't care much. But it's here, so I use it.

kayaker 07-09-2019 07:52 AM

Damn, now I want a Bloody Mary.

Two Many Cats 07-09-2019 08:06 AM

I like the strings, but I won't say they're the best part.

Celery has no taste? Celery most certainly has a very distinct taste. Cooking damps down most of it, or rather leeches it out, faintly flavoring whatever it's cooked with.

It's best raw though. Crunch crunch crunch.

Alessan 07-09-2019 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CairoCarol (Post 21739570)
Celery exists in four forms:

1) Celery seed. This is a delicious flavoring if used judiciously (don't overdo it, because it is strong) in broth making, or added to a stew or soup.

2) Celery leaves. These should be used because waste is bad and celery leaves are harmless. Chop them finely and throw them into a soup, stew, stir-fry, casserole, whatever. They won't hurt, and if you are lucky they may add color, flavor, and nutrition.

3) Celery stalks. If they are stringy, and you want to eat them as is, peel them and throw out the nasty outer stringy bits. In my experience, the greener the celery, the more likely you'll have to de-string before consuming. Otherwise, a stalk or two of celery thrown into the crockpot while broth-making is a perfectly good way to use up celery. (The rubbery, cooked, and now-flavorless stalks get removed when the the broth is strained. You can also chop the celery very fine so you don't have to worry about stringiness, and sauté it for adding to raw hamburger patties or Cajun food or whatever.

4) Dried sliced celery stalks from Penzey's. Good if you want to make a broth or stew, but don't have fresh celery to throw in.

That's all I got. If celery in every form were to vanish from the Earth tomorrow, I wouldn't care much. But it's here, so I use it.

You forgot 5) Celery root - makes good soup, and has plenty of other applications.

Chronos 07-09-2019 09:25 AM

The root also has a lot of the same peppery flavor you find in the seeds.

pulykamell 07-09-2019 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21739843)
You forgot 5) Celery root - makes good soup, and has plenty of other applications.

Yeah, in Central/Eastern Europe, it is used as part of the base soup vegetables (along with carrot and parsley root or parsnips.) I still use it in a lot of my heartier soups. We had a hell of a time finding green celery back in Hungary back in the late 90s/early 00s. Not sure what the situation is there, now, but celery was primarily used for its root out there and in neighboring countries. (And while celery root often did come with the green attached, it was nothing like the crisp, edible green we get here, but rather some very tough, fibrous, thinner, and greener stalks.

BrotherCadfael 07-09-2019 11:03 AM

The best way to select celery that has some taste is to go out into the garden, pick it, and use it immediately.

Chefguy 07-09-2019 01:13 PM

Crab stuffed celery was a staple at Thanksgiving when I was growing up. Doesn't taste nearly as good as an adult.

Snowboarder Bo 07-09-2019 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2Bits (Post 21738503)
Please share your most reliable technique for selecting good-tasting celery. Or perhaps confirm that none exists!

I can confirm that no "good-tasting celery" exists.

cmkeller 07-09-2019 04:02 PM

Alessan:

Quote:

You forgot 5) Celery root - makes good soup, and has plenty of other applications.
Including giving little kids a good scare :D

Ukulele Ike 07-09-2019 08:48 PM

I would never make chicken soup without celery.

Also, it is essential to mirepoix, the base of cuisine de la bonne femme, which I consider the greatest of French cookery.

Also, it is part of the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking. How d’ya make a gumbo without celery?

mistymage 07-10-2019 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael (Post 21740140)
The best way to select celery that has some taste is to go out into the garden, pick it, and use it immediately.


^^This^^. Garden grown celery has much more flavor than store bought, it's not as bitter and, since you can pick it young, is less fibrous. We love snapping a stalk off and snacking away while doing other gardening. I dehydrate the leaves to go in my "greens" seasoning mix (whatever edible greens in the garden like broccoli and its leaves, sage, chives and wild greens like lamb's quarter and wild grape leaves).

I'll have to look up celery root and it's usages/harvesting time. The whole plant gets pulled come salsa making time so I might make something with it. Oh... Celeriac. Hmm, I bet my celery root is edible but won't be as large or as tasty as Celeriac. But I'll give it a try this Fall.

Alessan 07-10-2019 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cmkeller (Post 21740825)
Including giving little kids a good scare :D

Oh, absolutely. It's the mutant bulb from hell.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mistymage (Post 21742487)
I'll have to look up celery root and it's usages/harvesting time.

It's good for anything that requires long cooking times - stocks, stews and the like. If you'd put celery in something and cook it for over an hour or two, you should use celery root instead.

Bear in mind that the edible root comes from a different strain of celery than the kind used for the stalks - Celeriac.

mistymage 07-10-2019 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21742515)
Oh, absolutely. It's the mutant bulb from hell.


It's good for anything that requires long cooking times - stocks, stews and the like. If you'd put celery in something and cook it for over an hour or two, you should use celery root instead.

Bear in mind that the edible root comes from a different strain of celery than the kind used for the stalks - Celeriac.


Yeah, I noted that in my post (two different plants) but since they come from the same family I am guessing Celery's root ball is edible, too. (If there is enough root to do anything with it cooking wise). Much like Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage are all from the same family (and all their leaves are edible, too).

pulykamell 07-10-2019 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21742515)
Oh, absolutely. It's the mutant bulb from hell.



It's good for anything that requires long cooking times - stocks, stews and the like. If you'd put celery in something and cook it for over an hour or two, you should use celery root instead.

Bear in mind that the edible root comes from a different strain of celery than the kind used for the stalks - Celeriac.

Ah, that makes a lot of sense. I assumed it probably was a different variety, just looking at it, but wasn't sure. It's also good in soups and stews cut up into cubes and cooked for about the same amount of time as you would cook potatoes. My Hungarian goulash soup, for instance, towards the end of cooking time gets potatoes, carrots, and celeriac (cut into about the same sized pieces as the potatoes) put into it. (But celariac is fairly strong, so I use a lot less by weight/volume than potatoes. Maybe one small celery root for a pound of potatoes.)

It's also nice mashed with potatoes.

Staggerlee 07-12-2019 04:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 21743505)
It's also nice mashed with potatoes.

I find celeriac a bit fibrous for mashing, but it's one of my favourite (cubed and) roasted foodstuffs. Caramelises really deliciously.

pulykamell 07-12-2019 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Staggerlee (Post 21746124)
I find celeriac a bit fibrous for mashing, but it's one of my favourite (cubed and) roasted foodstuffs. Caramelises really deliciously.

When it's cooked through, I find it has the same texture as potatoes (at least I don't notice any fibrous bits). Use the younger, smaller ones.


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