- Urban Myths - Celery has negative calories i.e. it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. We hate to admit it, but this is a myth! It doesn’t stop celery being a seriously healthy snack though thanks to its high water content and low sodium, cholesterol and calorie status – 2 stalks of celery contain just 25 calories.
- Relax - In traditional Oriental medicine celery was used to treat hypertension. This is because phthalide compounds in celery can act as a sedative as well as lower blood pressure.
- Food on film - Farmer and television presenter Jimmy Doherty visited G’s farms to try his hand (literally) at harvesting celery for his 2008 programme, “Jimmy’s Farming Heroes”.
- Sweet dreams - Celery is thought to promote a good night’s sleep because of the vitamins, mineral salts and nutrients it contains. It is also thought to have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
- Celery flavoured fizz – Forget celery juice and start drinking celery soda: Dr Brown’s started making their Cel-Ray tonic in America back in 1868 (although the name came along later) and it’s still in production. You might have to go to the States to try it though....We’re also told there was even a celery Jell-O flavour at one time. Only in America!
- Food of love? Celery has a formidable reputation as an aphrodisiac, going back to Roman times (they dedicated the plant to Pluto, god of sex and hell!). While Madame de Pompadour, official chief mistress of French King Louis XV, swore by celery and truffle soup washed down with hot chocolate. And even in the enlightened 1990’s a TV programme about Millennium babies recommended that couples eat plenty of celery to ensure they didn’t miss the deadline!
- Hangover cure – Another use of celery by the Roman’s was to use it as an antidote against the intoxicating effects of wine and the ensuing headache by wearing wreaths of celery leaves.
- Bottoms up! - The Bloody Mary cocktail was invented in the 1920’s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. However it wasn’t until the 1960’s that celery was associated with the drink, when a guest at a Chicago hotel was given a Bloody Mary but nothing to stir it with. He improvised with a stick of celery from the buffet!
- Greek’s Gold - Winners of athletic events in Ancient Greece were presented with bunches of celery, much as flowers are given today.
- Pure cure - Although celery has been used for thousands of years, at first it was valued more for medicinal purposes than for cooking. Wild celery was used in the Middle Ages to treat anxiety, insomnia, rheumatism, gout and arthiritis. While in Classical times it was believed to purify the blood.
- Food for thought – Celery was first used as a food in Italy during the 16th century, later spreading across Europe as a flavouring for soups, meats and stews.
- Celebrity fans – Actress Anna Friel is a fan of celery in liquid form, opting to juice it with beetroot and dandelion leaves. Singer Katie Perry loves celery dipped in ranch dressing, demanding it as part of her backstage rider. While Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond, says the only change he has noticed since his near-fatal 280 mph crash in 2006, is that he now likes celery!
- It’s crunch time – Celery is stringy because of its cell structure – the cell walls are tougher to help keep the plant upright, and that’s what gives celery its crunch