The Herb of the Month for September 2020 Celery Seed Apium graveolens.
The first thing to learn about celery or Apium graveolens is that there are three distinct varieties that are used in various culinary or medicinal ways. The celery seed itself comes from the original wild celery, whereas the plant itself is bitter and also has a powerful anise-like flavor. Wild celery, which grows throughout the Mediterranean, is sometimes referred to as “bay grass”. It can be purchased in Asian food markets. The following plants belong to this Umbelliferae family: carrots, caraway, cumin, fennel, and dill.
The varieties of cultivated celery are:
- Apium graveolens var. dulce which all of us in the United States are familiar with and which we love to snack on with or without a dip. We delight in adding the chopped crunchy stems into various hot or cold dishes.
- Apium graveolens var. rapaceum is commonly known as celery root and its root is used as a root salad or as a basic addition when making soup stocks.
- Apium graveolens var. secalinum is sometimes referred to as leaf celery, the primary uses are as a garnish or for medicinal applications.
Mankind’s historical link with celery seed certainly began in ancient Egypt since it has been found in its tombs. Since it was so beneficial medicinally, its use moved into other cultures such as ancient Greece.
The medicinal plant in Homer’s Odyssey, written about 850 BCE, is thought to be celery seed. In 573 BCE, we know that the winners of the Nemean Games wore leaf celery wreaths. It has continued to be used throughout the Mediterranean world as a seasoning for food, wine, and as a medicinal remedy.
Today we add this nutritional powerhouse, celery seed, to our pickles, catsup, and barbecue sauce, stews, and soups. This little seed is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. There is ongoing medical research to discover how this seed could be of benefit. . ~~ Reni Erskine
Quick Coleslaw with Celery Seeds
- 16 ounces package of shredded cole slaw mix
- ½ cup Olive oil mayonnaise
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- salt and lime or lemon juice to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, allowing the flavors to meld and tenderizing the slaw.