The Q&A Archives: What Is "Root Celery?"

Question: We are first time gardeners. When we were shopping for vegetable plants we bought something called root celery. What is the difference between this and celery in the store? How does it grow, best way to plant, and how and when to harvest? We live in northeast Ohio and have a short growing season.

Answer: Root celery is another name for celeriac, also called knob celery and turnip-root celery. The root of this plant tastes like the stalk celery we get in the grocery store. Celeriac takes a long season to fully mature to about the size of a baseball, but the roots can be pulled as soon as they are of a useful size. Be sure to peel the root before cooking it. It is usually eaten roasted, or added to soups or stews, or cut small and steamed. You can also grate it into a salad. The leaves are also edible fresh or cooked but have a strong celery flavor. Some people consider it a gourmet vegetable.

Celeriac grows best with rich soil and ample water. Plant it in the spring, keep it well watered, weeded and mulched during the summer. Harvest in summer and well into the fall beginning as soon as the root is large enough to bother with. It will handle light frost in the fall garden.

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