Botanical name Apium graveolens ▪ Family name Umbelliferae
Celery is an herbaceous member of the carrot, parsley, and caraway family, developed by Italian gardeners in the 17th century from the wild celery of the European salt marshes - a plant know as "smallage". In the second year, the flower head produces masses of small seeds which are grey-brown with fine ridges.
Native range widely distributed
Major producers India, China, Madagascar, USA, France
Taste and aroma Celery seeds have a strong and sometimes bitter flavour, and a distinctive celery aroma. The pungency and taste are particularly noticeable in the ground spice.
Culinary uses Celery seeds are sometimes added to bread dough, or cheese biscuits and scones. They can be sprinkled over boiled carrots, grilled tomatoes, or cold salads. Celery seeds are a great complement for egg and fish dishes. Celery salt and celery pepper are both made by grinding the seeds with either salt or peppercorns, and make strongly flavoured seasonings.
Other uses The essential oil from celery seeds is sometimes used in the treatment of asthma, flatulence, and bronchitic ailments.
Historical uses The ancient Greeks and Romans used the wild celery plant for medicinal purposes and it was also widely believed to have aphrodisiac powers. Cultivation during the Middle Ages led to improved quality celery and its use as a spice increased.
Storage Celery seeds will keep their flavour and aroma for up to 2 years or more if stored in an airtight container.
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