|Apium graveolens var. rapaceum|
|A celeriac hypocotyl sliced in half, and with the greens removed|
Celeriac is a root vegetable with a bulbous hypocotyl. In the Mediterranean Basin and in Northern Europe, celeriac grows wild and is widely cultivated. It is also cultivated in North Africa, Siberia, Southwest Asia, and North America. In North America, the Diamant cultivar predominates. Celeriac originated in the Mediterranean Basin.
Typically, celeriac is harvested when its hypocotyl is 10 to 14 cm (3.9 to 5.5 in) in diameter. However, a growing trend (specifically in Peruvian and South American cuisine) is to use the immature vegetable, valued for its intensity of flavour and tenderness overall. It is edible raw or cooked, and tastes similar to the stalks (the upper part of the stem) of common celery cultivars. Celeriac may be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed. Sliced celeriac occurs as an ingredient in soups, casseroles, and other savory dishes. The leaves and stems of the vegetable are quite flavoursome, and aesthetically delicate and vibrant, which has led to their use as a garnish in contemporary fine dining.
The shelf life of celeriac is approximately six to eight months if stored between 0 °C (32 °F) and 5 °C (41 °F), and not allowed to dry out. However, the vegetable will tend to rot through the centre if the finer stems surrounding the base are left attached. The freshness of the vegetable can be determined by viewing the hollowness of the vegetable; a fresh celeriac should not have a hollow centre. The freshness of the vegetable will also be obvious from the taste; the older the vegetable, the less potent the celery flavour.
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