is used around the world as a vegetable, either for the crisp petiole (leaf
stalk) or the fleshy top root.
In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds. Actually very
small fruit, these "seeds" yield a valuable volatile oil used in the
perfume and pharmaceutical industries. They also contain an organic
compound called apiol.
Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice, either as whole seeds or
ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. Celery salt can also be made
from an extract of the roots. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in
cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the
Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning. Celery is a staple in many
soups, such as chicken noodle soup.
Raw Celery Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz):
• Energy - 57 kJ (14 kcal)
• Carbohydrates - 3 g - Sugars - 1.4 g - Dietary fibre - 1.6 g
• Fat - 0.2 g
• Protein - 0.7 g
• Water - 95 g
• Vitamin C - 3 mg (4%)
Celery seeds contain a compound, 3-N-butyl-phthalide, that has been
demonstrated to lower blood pressure. The oil and large doses of seeds
should be avoided during pregnancy, as they can act as a uterine stimulant.
Seeds intended for cultivation are not suitable for eating as they are
often treated with fungicides.
A common use for the seeds is as a "blood purifier", and it is sometimes
taken for arthritis.
Celery is used in weight-loss diets, where it provides low-calorie dietary
fibre bulk. Celery seeds are also a great source of calcium, and are
regarded as a good alternative to animal products.
Celery is among a small group of foods (headed by peanuts) that appear to
provoke the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery allergy,
exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. The allergen does
not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures. Celery root—commonly
eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks—is known to contain more allergen
than the stalk. Seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content.