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Surprising Celery

Apium graveolens, more commonly known as celery, has been around since at least the 9th century when it was written about in a poem.

It was described for medicinal use, and was not used for cooking until about 1623 in France when it was mainly employed as a seasoning.

Around the 17th and 18th centuries it was discovered that celery could be made to taste better if plants were grown later in the season and could be stored for winter food.

It has slowly crept into kitchens, and now remains a somewhat forgotten side of the vegetable family. It gets stuck in dips and sliced in stews, and it may not be thought of as very nutrient rich, but filled with mostly water.

Celery is actually a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid and calcium. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B6. Though it is high in sodium, this is naturally counterbalanced by large levels of potassium.

Evolving from its wilder form, celery can still be utilized for numerous medicinal applications. Having anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties it is good for digestion as well as fungal and bladder infections. It also has luteolin, which is a compound that supposedly decreases proteins responsible for forming plaque in the brain. Furthermore, it is full of antioxidants and is reportedly a good tamer of bad breath.

In addition to health benefits it has a fun side, too. For a neat and colorful science experiment you can do with celery, ScienceFairAdventure has step by step instructions. By using some water, food coloring and a bit of adult help, kids can take an interest in the stalky vegetable away from the dinner plate. The colored water travels up the celery in tubes called xylems. The liquid is drawn up the shoots by force of the water molecules, and this demonstrates how plants transport water.

From healing properties to culinary consumption and even scientific exploration, celery, like most vegetables has many practical uses.


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