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by Daphne Lambert

Celeriac has been one of the most successful crops this year. The seeds were sown and the seedlings raised by Pete at Ashurst Organic. Most were planted in the straw bale raised beds but 6 were raised in large pots both were successful but the ones in the beds were larger. We used organic rich soil and kept the plants moist throughout the growing season. The plant has masses of foliage and as the copious leaves fall horizontal we eased them off exposing the crown and allowing it to develop.

The edible part of celeriac is not a root, in the same way as a carrot, but a swollen part of the lower stem. We have been harvesting celeriac since October and the half dozen left we will lift at the turn of the year ready for a Twelfth night supper.

The main enemy of celeriac is slugs but we have had no problem with slugs – maybe the prickly straw has deterred them!

Roast, puree, turn into soups and add celeriac to salads it is fibre rich which helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Celeriac is a good source of vitamin C an important anti-oxidant. It contains many B vitamins as well as a high amount of vitamin K & phosphorous which helps in bone metabolism and prevents osteoporosis.

Celeriac Soup with Cider

450g celeriac, peeled and chopped

1 large potato, scrubbed, peeled and chopped

1 small onion

1 litre stock

salt and pepper

150ml cider

2 apples, peeled and diced

25g butter

30ml Calvados

chopped parsley

Put the vegetables into a soup pan with the stock and salt and pepper and simmer gently until tender, 45 minutes.

Gently cook the diced apples in the butter. When they begin to colour, tip on the Calvados and flambé, reduce slightly and put to one side.

Liquidise the vegetables in the blender, return to the pan with the cider, warm through.

Divide between serving bowls. Put a spoonful of apple mixture in the middle of each, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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