Celeriac is a relatively unknown vegetable, though its popularity is increasing today.
It’s loaded with important vitamins and minerals that may offer impressive health benefits.
What’s more, it’s extremely versatile and can easily be incorporated into your diet as an alternative to potatoes and other root vegetables.
This article tells you all you need to know about celeriac, including its nutrition, benefits and uses.
Celeriac is a root vegetable closely related to celery, parsley and parsnips. However, the edible part — called the hypocotyl — is in the stem of the plant below the leaves and above the root.
Its scientific name is Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, and it’s also known as turnip-rooted celery, knob celery or celery root.
It originated in the Mediterranean and belongs to the same plant family as carrots.
Celeriac is well known for its strange appearance. It looks similar to a misshapen turnip and is off-white with a rough, knobby surface covered in tiny rootlets. Its smooth, white flesh is similar to a potato.
The leaves and stalk of the plant grow above ground and resemble celery. It typically measures about 4–5 inches (10–13 cm) in diameter and weighs around 1–2 pounds (450–900 grams).
Celeriac is popular in Eastern and Northern European regions as a winter root vegetable and commonly used in salads, soups, casseroles and stews. Celeriac remoulade is a popular French dish, similar to coleslaw.
Its taste resembles that of the upper part of the celery stem, and it can be eaten raw or cooked.
Raw celeriac has a crunchy texture, making it a perfect addition to salads and coleslaws. When cooked, it is slightly sweeter and works well mashed, baked, roasted or boiled.
Though its peak season is September to April, celeriac is generally available year-round.
Summary Celeriac is a root vegetable closely related to celery. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked and works well in salads, as well as mashed, baked, roasted or boiled.
Celeriac is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with fiber and vitamins B6, C and K. It’s also a good source of antioxidants and important minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
|Carbs||9.2 grams||5.9 grams|
|Fiber||1.8 grams||1.2 grams|
|Protein||1.5 grams||1 gram|
|Fat||0.3 grams||0.2 grams|
|Vitamin C||13% of the DV||6% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||8% of the DV||5% of the DV|
|Vitamin K||51% of the DV||unknown|
|Phosphorus||12% of the DV||7% of the DV|
|Potassium||9% of the DV||5% of the DV|
|Manganese||8% of the DV||5% of the DV|
It’s important to note that cooking celeriac can cause some vitamin loss — for example, boiling celeriac reduces its vitamin C content by at least 50% (2).
It’s unclear how cooking affects vitamin K. Still, alternative cooking methods — such as steaming — may prevent some vitamin loss.
With only 5.9 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cooked vegetable, celeriac is a healthier, lower-carb alternative to potatoes (2).
Summary Celeriac is high in fiber and a good source of vitamins B6, C and K. It also contains important minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium and manganese. What's more, it’s low in fat and calories.
Due to its good supply of certain nutrients and antioxidants, celeriac may offer a variety of health benefits.
Packed With Antioxidants
Celeriac is packed with antioxidants, which are anti-inflammatory — they work by fighting against harmful free radicals, thus protecting healthy cells from damage.
Celeriac — especially raw — is also a good source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and may strengthen your immune system (5).
May Benefit Heart Health
Celeriac is high in potassium and vitamin K, which are important for heart health.
Potassium can help regulate blood pressure by neutralizing the negative effects of high salt intake in sensitive individuals (6).
In fact, consuming higher levels of potassium has been linked to a lower risk of health issues, such as stroke (7).
A meta-analysis of 16 observational studies found that higher potassium intake was associated with a 13% reduced risk of stroke (8).
Vitamin K may reduce heart disease risk by preventing the buildup of calcium in your blood vessels. Such buildup may cause your blood vessels to become hard and narrow (9).
Celeriac also contains vitamin C, which may improve blood vessel function and blood fats in certain people, such as those with diabetes or with low blood levels of vitamin C (10).
May Improve Digestion
In turn, this may protect against certain diseases, such as colon cancer (14).
Evidence shows that sufficient fiber intake is essential for feeding your beneficial gut bacteria, which are extremely important for many different aspects of health such as protecting against diabetes and obesity (15).
May Strengthen Your Bones
Celeriac is a rich source of phosphorus and vitamin K, which are important for healthy bones.
A review of five observational studies found that people with the highest vitamin K intake had a 22% lower risk of fractures than those with the lowest intake (18).
Another review of 7 studies observed that supplementing with 45 mg of vitamin K daily reduced hip fracture risk by 77% (16).
What’s more, in addition to calcium, your body needs adequate levels of phosphorus to strengthen bones.
Observational studies found that a higher intake of phosphorus is associated with better bone health and a reduced risk of osteoporosis (19).
May Offer Anticancer Properties
Celeriac is high in vitamin K, which may have anticancer properties (20).
In addition, a review of five studies in people with cancer who had undergone surgery found that supplementing with vitamin K after surgery slightly improved overall survival after one year (25).
However, more human research is needed to determine whether vitamin K can protect against cancer.
Summary Celeriac is high in antioxidants and certain nutrients that are associated with health benefits. These include protection against certain cancers and improved digestion, as well as heart and bone health.
Raw or cooked, celeriac is an extremely versatile vegetable. It can be used as a base for salads or coleslaws and works well mashed, baked, roasted or boiled.
Here’s how to incorporate celeriac into your diet.
Selection, Preparation and Storage
For optimal flavor, choose a medium-sized celeriac — 3–4 inches (8–10 cm) in diameter — with a smooth, even surface. Avoid large, heavy ones that are discolored or have surface cracks.
Be sure that its center isn’t hollow, which is a sign that the celeriac is no longer fresh.
What’s more, the fresher the vegetable, the stronger its celery flavor.
For optimal shelf life, store celeriac in a plastic bag inside the vegetable compartment of your fridge.
To prepare it for cooking, wash and scrub the vegetable to remove any dirt before cutting off the top and base.
Then, carefully remove the rough skin with a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler and chop or slice the flesh.
As celeriac discolors very quickly, soak the cut vegetable pieces in cold water and a few lemon slices or a splash of white-wine vinegar.
Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked and prepared as a side dish.
Here are a few serving tips:
- Try it raw — sliced or grated — in salads, coleslaw or French celeriac remoulade.
- Boil and mash the vegetable as an alternative to potatoes or other root vegetables.
- Roast or bake celeriac like potatoes.
- Cook and blend it for soups, sauces, pies and casseroles.
Cut into rough-shaped chunks, celeriac usually boils in around 20 minutes and roasts in around 40 minutes.
Summary Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked and makes a great addition to many dishes. Choose a medium-sized celeriac that is not hollow in its center to ensure freshness and optimal flavor.
Celeriac is considered safe for most people. However, some may need to limit or avoid eating this vegetable.
Celeriac is high in vitamin K, which can affect blood clotting. Therefore, people with blood-clotting disorders who are on medication like warfarin should avoid excessive consumption.
If you’re affected by any of these conditions, speak with your healthcare provider about whether eating celeriac is appropriate.
Finally, certain compounds in celeriac, such as bergapten, may stimulate a woman’s womb possibly causing contractions. Therefore, you should not eat large quantities during pregnancy (28).
Summary Most people can safely eat celeriac. However, people with blood clotting disorders or kidney problems, or who are pregnant or taking diuretics, should limit or avoid it.
Celeriac is a root vegetable related to celery.
Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, it offers impressive health benefits, such as improved digestion, bone and heart health, as well as possible anticancer effects.
You can enjoy celeriac raw or cooked as a healthier, lower-carb alternative to potatoes and other root vegetables.
With its subtle, celery-like flavor, impressive nutritional profile and versatility, celeriac can be a great addition to a healthy diet.