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Celery (Apium graveolens) is a herbaceous biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the coasts of western and northern Europe, most commonly in ditches and saltmarshes. It grows to 1 m tall, with pinnate to bipinnate leaves with rhombic leaflets 3-6 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. The flowers are creamy-white, 2-3 mm diameter, produced in dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose, 1.5-2 mm long and wide.
As a salad plant, celery, especially if at all "stringy", is difficult to digest. However, it possesses valuable diuretic properties.
Both blanched and green it is stewed and used soups, the seeds also being used as a flavouring ingredient. Even after long immersion in broth, the stalks remain somewhat crisp, and useful for adding texture to the soup.
In the south of Europe celery is seldom blanched, but is much used in its natural condition.
Chopped, it is one of the three vegetables considered the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.
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