Celeriac is similar to celery in flavour. It looks like a root vegetable and is similar to a swede in texture. It is, in fact, a swollen stem and not a root vegetable. It has become popular as a healthier substitute for potato and can be used in a range of dishes.
Start celeriac seeds off in pots and keep them in a warm and light area. They need light to germinate so only give them a light covering of compost. Keep the seeds and seedlings at a warm temperature of at least 65F because cold conditions can cause them to bolt. Germination can be erratic, start to sow from March.
You can start to harden them off during late May and plant out from late May to mid-June in manure-rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. They like plenty of moisture and mulching helps to retain the moisture. Never let the Celeriac soil dry out.
As they grow, take off some of the stems, leaving 3-6 to help encourage the bulb to grow by exposing the crown. Remove any side shoots as they appear.
Keep the celeriac plants weed-free and water regularly.
It is worthwhile to earth them up from September or use some straw around them for protection.
Celeriac is usually ready for harvesting in November. Like a root vegetable, they can be left in the ground until they are used but fork them up if a hard frost is expected. Their flavour grows stronger after a light frost and over time in general.
Celeriac can be stored as other root vegetables would be. They have a thick skin, which should be peeled off and you can roast or boil the celeriac. A bit of strength is required for preparing and cutting celeriac, as does a swede!
You might enjoy our recipe for Celeriac chips here.