They’ve both got celery in their name, do these veggies taste alike?
The Short Answer:
Yes, celery root tastes a lot like celery, despite being a different plant.
The Long Answer:
One would ordinarily assume that celery root, by the sake of its name, is the root of a celery plant.
It’s actually not.
The name confuses a lot of people, that’s why many refer to celery root as celeriac. Celery vs celeriac is a much more clear distinction than celery vs. celery root. Calling this plant celeriac is painting a more accurate picture of what it actually is; a distant cousin of celery that might not be visually appealing but tastes almost the same.
That was a long-winded way of saying that celeriac tastes an awful lot like its family member, the traditional celery stalk. But you’d never know by eyeballing it. Celeriac is not a pretty plant. It’s the root of a green leafy series of stalks. But those stalks are not what you eat. That’s all trimmed away to make way for the bulbous, blobby, furry mess of roots that looks like a softball in a Picaso painting.
But when you cut off the top and bottom of this mass of growth and peel away that felt-like skin, you’ve got a disproportionate mass of veggie that tastes an awful lot like celery. It’s a crisp and slightly sweet alternative that more accurately resembles a starchy fusion of a potato and a turnip.
A lot of people describe the taste of celeriac as celery mixed with parsley, which can be appealing to individuals who enjoy both of those things. But beneath it all, there is a hint of sweetness that is unique to celery root.
If you’re cooking with celeriac, first you have to peel it. Don’t worry if it looks misshapen, it’s supposed to. If you’re not going to be using it right away, make sure you have a bowl of water to soak it in once it’s peeled. Much like potatoes, celeriac starts to oxidize the second its flesh hits the open air. If you don’t use it or eat it right away, it will start to darken.
Celeriac can be eaten both raw or cooked. It can be included in various forms of cole slaw, or even mixed in with mashed potatoes for an interesting twist on an old favorite.
So, if you’re like me and you don’t mind the taste of celery, but hate the texture and stringiness of it, give celery root a shot.