Harvest of the Month
Amanda Goldman, MS, RD, LD, FAND
Quality and Wellness Director, CHI Food and Nutrition Services
Director of Diabetes and Nutrition Care, CHI Saint Joseph Health
October’s “Harvest of the Month” is one of the more strongly flavored vegetables. Farmers have discovered that the flavor in this plant is reduced when grown in the colder months. While some find the flavor unpleasant, others enjoy it with foods ranging from peanut butter to chicken wings. This plant is in the same family of vegetables as carrots, parsley, and parsnips. Despite being one of the most popular vegetables in America, this month’s Harvest, celery, is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region. Celery is very low in calories despite being a good source of vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. So, while you are on your lunch or dinner break, please be sure to sample some of the tasty menu items highlighting celery in our CHI cafes during October.
How to Buy, Store and Prepare
How to Buy and Store: Strong turgor is a great indicator of fresh celery. This vegetable should be purchased when it is crisp and snaps easily when pulled apart. The stalks should be tight to one another instead of spread out. The color should be pale to bright green without yellow or brown spots. Celery should be stored in the refrigerator in a closed container to extend its shelf-life.
How to Prepare: Celery can easily be incorporated into soups, stews, stir-fry’s, and casseroles.
Making it Kid-Friendly
Celery is a great option for kids. Celery with peanut butter is a classic school age-snack. Many children also like celery with ranch dressing for dipping.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Celery contains the antioxidants Vitamin C and Beta-carotene. These antioxidants play many roles in the human body, such as reducing oxidative stress & inflammation, in turn reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Pectin, a soluble fiber in celery, has been shown to improve the integrity of the stomach lining. This increased integrity decreases the risk of conditions such as stomach ulcers.
Calories: 6 Saturated Fat: 0g
Total Fat: 0g Monounsaturated Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 1g Vitamin A: 4 %
Fiber: 0.6g Vitamin C: 2%
Protein: 0.3g Calcium: 2%
Check out these fun facts about celery provided by Karen Klefot & Candice Tufano, both Diabetes Educators with CHI Saint Joseph Health Diabetes and Nutrition Care:
• The average adult in the U.S. eats about six pounds of celery per year
• There is a town called Celeryville, Ohio; It was founded by early 19th century celery farmers
• Despite rumors, celery is not a negative-caloric food; however, it is extremely low in calories per serving
*Special thanks to Jonathan Brown, Dietetic Intern from Murray State University, for assisting with writing this month’s article.