Celery - extracted from the pages of One Planet - http://www.oneplanetnatural.com

(species Apium graveolens), herb of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). Celery seed is harvested from a wild variety of the celery plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. The seeds are oval in shape and light brown in color. They are so tiny that it takes 750,000 of them to make a pound. The principal sources of celery seed are India and China. The ancient Greeks and Romans used celery for its medicinal properties, and it was popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac. In the Middle Ages, Italian farmers began to cultivate "smallage," but it was not until the 19th century that celery seed began appearing in recipes. Celery with large, fleshy, succulent, upright leafstalks, or petioles, was developed in the late 18th century. The stringiness that characterizes most celery has been eliminated from some varieties, notably the Pascal.

In Europe celery is usually eaten cooked as a vegetable or as a delicate flavouring in a variety of stocks, casseroles, and soups. In the United States raw celery is served with spreads or dips as an appetizer and in salads.

The tiny fruit, or seed, of the celery resembles the plant itself in taste and aroma and is used as a seasoning, particularly in soups and pickles. Celery seed contains about 2 to 3 percent essential oil, the principal components of which are d-limonene and selinene.

Celeriac (Apium graveolens variety rapaceum), also called celery root, or turnip-rooted celery, has a large edible root used as a raw or cooked vegetable.

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