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Updated: 06/18/2014 12:22:41AM

Celery and celeriac—distinctly different varieties

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Celeriac is also known as celery root, knob celery or turnip-rooted celery. The edible part is the bulbous knobby root crown that forms mostly above ground or just below the surface. The dark green celery like leaves do not develop a long stalk, and are quite bitter. Celeriac is good in soups or stews, or may be used raw in salads.

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Celery and celeriac share the same botanical name “Apium graveolens” but are two distinct varieties with different growth habits. Their cultural requirements are similar. Celery is the variety “dulce,” while celeriac is “repaceum.” The stalks and leaves of celery and the enlarged root crown of celeriac are similar in flavor.

Celery is a familiar vegetable, celeriac is less well known in this county. Most home gardeners don’t bother growing celery or celeriac. Although a bit of a challenge, it is possible to grow both in Florida. Sanford was once the main celery growing area, and celery was cultivated in Sarasota County. Today celery is grown on the muck soils south of Lake Okeechobee, harvested mechanically and chilled in the field.

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