CELERY, Apium graveolens

Celery plant

Celery can still be found in its wild state throughout North and South America, Europe and Africa.

Wild celery taste bitter and smells pungent. It has a tough center stalk and branches growing off of it. However, the leaves and the umbel (the flower that holds the seeds) look the same. Celery is a member or the carrot, fennel, caraway, anise and parsley family. It is most abundant from October until March. It is crown mostly in California, Texas and Florida. When celery is allowed to mature enough to seed, it becomes bitter. To make the stalks light, tender and juicy, the grower must hill, or bank (almost cover), the plant with dirt. This bleaches the stalks.

For thousand years, celery seeds have been used as a medicine to help cure health problems and strengthen the various systems of the body. The leaves were gathered as well and used as flavorings in soups and stews because of their zesty flavor. A king, way back in the sixteenth century, ordered his gardener to make his herb a little less bitter and more palatable. Over the centuries, it has evolved into the wonderful plant we have today.

Many other wonderful plants could be domesticated, like lamb’s quarter, shepherd’s purse, amaranth, purslane (some Europeans call this poor man’s food) some of the docks and many more. I use most of these plants (weeds) when I make a drink. They are so health giving and good for you.

I remember an incident involving celery from when I was just a young boy. It was during the big Depression.
We had a neighbor lady who had arthritis real bad, only they called it rheumatism back then. When my mother tried to help her she would cry and complain about aching joints and swollen legs and a bad stomach that was always very acid. Mom said, “Half of her problem is the way she eats, including way to much meat!”

That summer, someone planted quite a few acres of celery about a mile from our house. As they harvested it, they shipped it out on freight cars. I got to help, although I had to take most of my pay out in celery that was broken up or not quite marketable. For awhile, we had much more celery than we could use. All the neighbors got plenty of celery, including the lady who had rheumatism. Mom brought her some herbs and told her to take them and to eat plenty of the celery which we had so much of it. After a while, she seemed more pleasant and by the time the celery ran out, she said she felt much better. She and her husband came over to our house one evening. They were laughing and joking. I guess one of the reasons she felt better was because celery is such a great alkalizer and it helped her arthritis. It also helped her nervousness.

Celery is very good for you. It is high in vitamin A, and contains vitamin B and C. it has a fair amount of sodium, calcium and phosphorus, as well as potassium, chlorine, magnesium and iron.

Celery has very few calories, yet it is high in roughage, so it is good for the weight watcher. It is good for digestion because of it high water content. So, if we eat concentrated foods, try to eat celery too. Celery is great for calming and soothing the nerves; it helps clean out the kidney and promotes urine; it helps gout by increasing the elimination of uric acid. Because celery neutralizes acids in the body, it is known to help arthritis. Whenever I make a green drink or a vegetable drink, I always put in a couple of the outer greener stalks. I think they contain more minerals and they make the drink taste better. Who would think a common food like celery could taste so good and yet be so healthy for you?

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