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Pink celery is small in size with elongated, slender stalks and frilly, flat, deeply lobed leaves. The thin stalks are firm, smooth, hollow, and pale pink to bright fuchsia. Connected to the pink stalks, the leaves have serrated edges with generally three lobes and are bright green with a crisp, vegetal flavor. Pink celery is highly aromatic, more pungent in taste, and is smaller in size than European celery. When raw, Pink celery is crunchy with a robust herbal flavor, and when cooked, the stalks soften and become sweet, tender, and crisp.
Pink celery is available year-round.
Pink celery, botanically classified as Apium graveolens, is slender, brightly colored stalks that grow to be less than thirty centimeters in height and are members of the Apiaceae family. Considered to be a rare heirloom variety from China, Pink celery was once extremely popular in Europe in the 19th century but eventually fell out of favor as new trends overtook the culinary scene. In the modern-day, Pink celery remains a unique item that is not commercially grown and is only found through home gardeners and specialty farms. Pink celery can grow in temperate or tropical climates across the world and is favored for its unusual coloring and strong, aromatic flavor.
Pink celery is an excellent source of vitamin K which can assist in protecting the bones in the body and also contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and antioxidants that can help boost the immune system. The leaves contain vitamin A, which has been shown to help improve the appearance of the skin and protect eyesight.
Pink celery is not commonly used raw as its flavor is stronger than European celery, but some consumers enjoy the taste and add the stalks to salads, grain bowls, shredded as a side dish to fried meats, or used as a fresh garnish. Pink celery can also be pickled and served as an accompaniment to main dishes and appetizers. The leaves and stalks are mainly utilized for cooked applications such as stir-frying, braising, boiling, and frying. Pink celery can be chopped and mixed into soups and stews, sliced and stir-fried by itself or with other vegetables in sauces such as soy, sesame oil, sugar, and oyster, or fried. Pink celery pairs well with meats such as poultry, pork, beef, duck, and fish, shrimp, ginger, garlic, onions, scallions, mushrooms, potatoes, and almonds. The stalks will keep up to one week when stored in a perforated bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In China, celery is believed to have cooling properties that act as an anti-inflammatory in the digestive tract to calm and soothe the body. Commonly used as a flavoring in the base of Chinese cooking, Pink celery is used in northern China as a specialty, high-end ingredient that is served at gourmet restaurants.
Pink celery is native to northern China and is believed by experts to have stemmed from a wild celery species during ancient times. The pink stalks eventually made their way to Europe via trade routes and were briefly popular in the 19th century before fading from commercial use. Today Pink celery is a rare variety that can be found at local markets in northern China and through select farms in Europe and the United States. Pink celery is also offered through online seed catalogs for home garden use.