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Because celery grows in almost all regions of the world it is an ingredient in virtually every cuisine on the planet. The most common variety is pascal celery. This is a hardy breed that produces a light green stalk that is slightly tough. The chewy, fibrous vegetable is often described as stringy because of long strands on the outer stalks.
The best celery has been blanched during cultivation. When the stalks are not fully grown they are wrapped to protect them from the sun. Less energy goes into production of chlorophyll and the pale stalks are more tender and have a stronger celery flavor. Think of how great the flavor of the tender inner stalks are in the celery you buy at the grocery. Blanched celery is also free of string.
There are self-blanching varieties of celery but these are not widely grown by commercial produce companies. More and more small producers are creating heirloom celeries that are either self-blanching or they are taking the time to wrap their plants.
Look for smaller bunches of celery. The larger the stalk is the tougher it will be. Pale celery will usually have more flavor. The stalks should be crisp and firm with little wilting. The best guide for freshness is the leaves. If they are the least bit wilted they are too far gone.
4 ounces celery = 18 calories, <1g fat, <1g sat fat, <1g mono fat, 1g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 99mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol
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