What Does Celeriac Taste Like?

Celeriac Taste

Celeriac is an obscure vegetable and is sometimes confused for the turnip. This is a mistake almost anyone could make but there are differences between celeriac and turnips. It is used widely in casseroles, soups and other savoury dishes. While these uses do not help to differentiate it from the turnip celeriac is the product of a type of celery as the name suggests. Celeriac is also eaten fresh and in salads like Waldorf salad or slaw. While many believe that celeriac is a root tuber like a potato or sweet potato, celeriac is a root bulb. It is popular in Europe and Central and Southern America. So what exactly is celeriac and what does it taste like?



Celeriac is also known as celery root, knob celery and turnip-rooted celery though there is no close relation with turnips. This type of celery tastes just like other varieties of celery so it is cultivated for its leaves and stems. Celeriac is a tuberous root plant. The bulb unlike other root vegetables is not a single swollen root but rather many small roots that swell from the stem and bind into a large bulb. It is most popular in the Mediterranean region and Northern Europe. You will also find celeriac being widely grown in North Africa, Southwest Asia, North America, Central America and South America. Celeriac bulbs can store for an amazing 6 to 8 months when stored at very cool temperatures. The stems and leaves of the celeriac plant taste just as non-bulb versions of celery taste.



The first point to start is the flavour that is most commonly associated with celeriac. The celeriac bulb tastes a lot like celery. It understandably has a very close flavour resemblance to that of the celery stalks. Surprisingly the tuber is eaten raw and this is when the flavour most closely tastes like celery stalks. It has a very strong peppery taste just like the celery stalk and can take over recipes. It is often eaten fresh and can be employed in salads because of these properties. There is a subtle difference though. While celery stalks taste outright spicy the same cannot be said of the celeriac bulb. Perhaps because of its root bulb and comparatively starchy make up the flavour is not as spicy as that of raw celery stalks.



This may not be what many people expect to hear about the taste of a root tuber but celeriac does have a nutty flavour. Think more of a mild flavour like almond or Brazil nuts than the strong flavours like peanuts. The nutty flavour is mostly a hint and experienced when the root is consumed raw. The raw root bulb has a mild nutty flavour to it. They can be somewhat likened to light coloured sweet potatoes which possess a mild warm flavour. This nutty flavour is however mixed with the peppery taste of celery so it will not jump out as an outright nutty flavour. The root, when cooked in a stew or soup almost, tastes like it has let out some of this nutty flavour. Perhaps the nutty flavour blends with the other flavours in the dish.



Alright, this is one weird vegetable. Peppery, nutty and now sweet all sound like a lot of contradicting flavours to come from a root bulb let alone a single vegetable. Celeriac however does possess all these flavours. However, the sweetness of celeriac is something that comes out when the vegetable is cooked. You are more likely to get this flavour when it is cooked into a stew or a soup. They blend very well in stews and soups, bringing the same soft sweetness you would expect from a milder sweet potato. The peppery flavour blends perfectly with other savoury elements in stews to mask that the flavour comes from the celeriac.



Celeriac has what can only be described as a super crunch when raw. The bulbs have a clear crisp flesh that has an amazing crunch much like apples or carrots. Celeriac is so good a crunch match for apples that you can put them in place of apples in a Waldorf salad if you require a variation that has a peppery kick to go with the celery stalks instead of the bittersweetness of granny smith apples or the light sweetness of Fuji apples. When cooked celeriac has a texture similar to sweet potatoes or yams. This can be anywhere between soft and mushy depending on how long they have been cooked for. They blend very well with moist savoury elements and will soften their peppery flavour as they are cooked.


Celeriac is a root bulb vegetable that grows in some varieties of celery. It has a flavour that is similar to that of celery stalks, peppery. It is a bit more dulled down in the bulb. Celeriac also has a mild nutty hint to it. This is similar to mild nuts like Brazil nuts which do not have an overpowering flavour. When cooked the celeriac bulbs can present a hint of sweetness similar to sweet potatoes. Raw celeriac has a very crunchy texture to go with the peppery flavour. When cooked celeriac bulbs have a soft texture similar to that of sweet potatoes when they are cooked. Celeriac also like celery stalks develops a sweeter taste when cooked.

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