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02/25/2015 06:26 EST | Updated 02/25/2015 06:59 EST

3 Easy Celery Recipes To Serve Tonight

Melissa Balaze

You can usually find it raw, sitting next to other veggies in the crudité platter, or showing off its "wild" side in a Caesar. But celery isn't just an afterthought — the veggie is wonderful for enhancing the flavour of soups, adding a nutritious crunch to salads and even spiced up as a side dish.

It's time to get your crunch on and discover just how delicious celery can be.

Although it may seem like just a stick of crunchy water, don’t be fooled. Celery is actually loaded with nutritional benefits. Rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as vitamin A, B, C and K, it’s great to keep your heart healthy and, according to Chatelaine, has even been known to prevent certain types of cancer.

Researchers at the University of Illinois also suggest that celery may help prevent Alzheimer’s, thanks to a compound called L-3-N-Butylphthalide, and prevent UTIs by expelling water from your body without depleting it from its potassium.

What’s more, The University of Maryland Medical Center reports eating celery every day also helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. And it goes without saying that chomping on celery regularly is great if you're looking to maintain a trim figure or lose weight, since it’s high in water and fibre.

Interesting fact!

Studies show celery has been proven to help repel mosquitos. That’s right! Extensive testing says that the oil extracted from celery repelled the pesky little bugs when used topically on the skin.

Picking the Crunchiest Celery

Celery is easily available all year. When choosing your celery, look for stalks that are tightly bunched together and crisp, rather than rubbery. The leaves should be vibrant and green with no black spots, which could be a sign of insect damage. The best way to avoid bitter celery is to look in the centre for a rounded stem. A great tasting, healthy celery should have a few thin stalks in the centre. Once you get your celery home, it will keep in the fridge, The Kitchn suggests wrapping the bunch in foil, to keep stalks crisp for weeks.

Preparing Your Celery

Celery may be one of the most low-maintenance vegetables out there. When you’re ready to eat it, simply rinse the celery under cool water to remove any dirt, chop into pieces and top with your favourite spread (we like nut butters and raisins, ricotta and dried fruit, or cream cheese and hot sauce). Or you could try one of these recipes!

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