Dietribes: Celery (or, "I'm Being Stalked!")

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• When someone mentions "celery" as an eating option to me my first response is to scoff and say "boring." But maybe boring's not so bad - after all, a celery tonic was once prescribed as a nerve tonic. Boring is best when you're over excited!

• "At the turn of the century, celery was thought to have 'ever-soothing' and aphrodisiac properties supposed to strengthen a person’s 'exhausted nature.' It was claimed that celery products could purify blood, quiet nerves, regulate the liver, renovate the kidneys, relieve stomach disorders, and treat nervous disease. One dispenser of such remedies was not a physician at all, but a veterinarian. Many patent medicine vendors, however, were highly respected members of the community and legitimate drug manufacturers, such as the Upjohn Company."
 
• But is it all untrue? According to Women's Health Magazine, "Raw celery contains the male hormone androsterone, which can act as a pheromone to trigger female attraction."

• In fact, celery remains popular as a tonic, and it once was a Jello-O flavor. (OK, maybe "popular" is too strong of a word to use. It "exists," anyway!)

• But celery does have some practical properties. It has been found to reduce age-related memory deficits, take the spicy sting away from Buffalo wings, and act as a stir for your Bloody Mary. What more could you want?

• Celery can also act as a natural drinking straw (how's that for eco-friendly?) A certain variety has been developed to grow with a hollow stalk, making it easy to plunk into your favorite drink.

• Don't discount this crunchy green from being a ceremonial participant, either: a crown of celery was a prize for winners of athletic competitions in ancient Greece, while Romans used celery leaves to make funeral wreaths. Celery also plays a part in Amish weddings.
 
• They're also tough - roses are getting an extended shelf life thanks to being inserted with a celery gene.
 
• But what happens when they grow limp? Don't toss them out just let - you can revive limp celery by trimming the ends and sticking the stalks in a jar of cold water. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the stalks should be crisp. Voila!

• How do you Flossers enjoy your celery? I chop it up and put it in most everything from tuna salad to lentil soup. I haven't had it with peanut butter or brie for awhile, but I recall it being delicious. Does anyone hate celery? I do hate those stringy strands!

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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November 2, 2011 - 8:14am
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