The Not-So-Quiet Vegetable

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Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!..
"—and then he knelt on one knee and said—"
Crunch! Crunch! "What?"
"”¦and she looked in the box and”¦—"
"What? What was in the box?" Crunch! Crunch!
"”¦she was so excited!"
Crunch! "Was it a ring? Did he propose?"
"What? No! It was The FruitGuys TakeHome box. She was really excited to  see this week’s great veggies.”
“Oh, I was munching on celery, I couldn’t hear you.”

Has this ever happened to you? Veggie Aural Obfuscation or Noisy Celery  Syndrome? Celery is such a refreshing and low calorie snack, it’s easy to just  munch away on it and tune out the world. There is good reason for this: celery  contains the phytochemical phthalide, a compound that gives celery its smell  and reduces stress and high blood pressure. In Chinese medicine, celery, along  with the flavorful seeds from its blossoms, has long been linked to lowering  blood pressure. With its Potassium, Folates, and Vitamin C, celery is a filling and  nutritious stand-alone snack or a welcome addition to salad.

Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) ribs are also the backbone of cooked  sauces, soups, and casseroles because when cooked, they retain much of their  flavor and nutrients. Flavor enhancement is a trait of the aromatic vegetable  family Apiaceae, which includes celery, parsley, carrot, and fennel. The  combination of celery, onions, and bell peppers is known as The Holy Trinity  in Creole and Cajun cuisine; just as Mirepoix, the French combination of 1 part  celery, 1 part carrot, and 2 parts onion, serves for French and Italian cuisine.

Originating in the salt marshes of the Mediterranean Sea, celery has evolved into  a plant that has perfected the drawing up and retention of water. The plant has  also developed its own protection from fungal infections, but this compound can  make some people sensitive to celery.

The organic celery in the TakeHome cases should be rinsed under cold water and trimmed at the tops  and bottoms. Some prefer to peel the large, thicker strings off. Don’t forget  the quieter parts of the celery: the leaves add flavor to salads and the heart is  delicious when braised.

Freshly picked veggies always taste best eaten as soon as possible. According  to Cook’s Illustrated magazine, the best storage method is to completely wrap  celery in aluminum foil. It should last refrigerated for a few weeks.

- Heidi Lewis


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