|Apium graveolens var. rapaceum|
|A celeriac hypocotyl sliced in half, and with the greens removed|
Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum), also called celery root, knob celery, and turnip-rooted celery (although it is not a close relative of the turnip), is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible stem or hypocotyl, and shoots. Celeriac is like a root vegetable except it has a bulbous hypocotyl with many small roots attached.
In the Mediterranean Basin and in Northern Europe, celeriac is widely cultivated. It is also cultivated in North Africa, Siberia, Southwest Asia, and North America. In North America, the 'Diamant' cultivar predominates. The root is cultivated in Puerto Rico, sold locally at farmers' markets and supermarkets, and is a traditional staple of the Puerto Rican kitchen.
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 South American cuisine, particularly Peruvian) 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, or blanched, and may be mashed. Sliced celeriac is used 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. If celeriac is not fresh its centre becomes hollow, though even when freshly harvested there can be a small medial hollow. The freshness will also be obvious from the taste; the older it is, the weaker the celery flavour.
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