Urban Myths –Celery has negative calories. In other words, it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it. 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.
Food of love? Celery has been known as an aphrodisiac. 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 the stalks as an antidote against the intoxicating effects of wine and the ensuing headache.
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 took matters into his own hands, grabbed a stick of celery from the buffet and voilà the drink has been served like this ever since!
Greek’s Gold – Winners of athletic events in Ancient Greece were presented with bunches of celery, much as flowers are given today.
Pyramid Power – It is believed that the ancient Egyptians used wild celery in their ceremonies. Woven garlands of celery have been found in some early Egyptian tombs.
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 – As well as Katie Perry and Richard Hammond, actress Anna Friel is a fan of celery in liquid form, opting to juice it with beetroot and dandelion leaves. David and Victoria Beckham’s son Cruz was once filmed having celery for breakfast! And Khloé Kardashian has been known to have a cup of celery with 12 almonds as part of her diet.
It’s crunch time – The outer stems of celery can be 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.