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There are some ingredients that are so polarizing, we don’t even cook with them when we know we’re having company over. Think mushrooms, blue cheese, and oysters. But there’s another vegetable that lots of people have a big problem with, and Iron Chef, television star, and cookbook author Alex Guarnaschelli is over hearing about it. That’s why she just took to Instagram to show people exactly how to deal with this polarizing produce: celery.
It seems like there are two problems pretty much everyone has with celery. The first is that it’s so darn stringy. If you’re not using a razor-sharp knife, it can mess up the precision of your cuts and slices, because the strings just hold everything together. Or, worse, get stuck in between your teeth when you go in for a bite of peanut butter-filled celery, which can be legitimately painful; or, you wind up with random celery strings in whatever dish you’re cooking and they look like hair and it freaks everyone out.
Guarnaschelli’s tip is surprisingly simple, but it’s something we haven’t really seen anyone do before: she peels the celery. According to the chef, it’s really simple. You just lightly drag a vegetable peeler along the outer side of each celery rib to remove the tough strings.
Now, the star does point out that “You do not have to peel your celery…but you CAN for smoother, sleeker, less stringy texture & tender results.” She seems to be aware that even the simplest cooking tip can whip people into a fury online, so she also begged her Instagram followers, “Please don’t freak out. This is optional for better living,” which we totally got a kick out of.
The other issue a lot of people have with this veggie is that a bunch of celery seems to go bad before you can figure out what the heck to do with the tiny little celery ribs and leaves in the middle of the bunch. Are those even edible? Or is half of your bunch of celery not even usable? Well, according to Guarnaschelli not only are those pale and slender inner stalks edible, but they’re one of the best parts of your celery.
And, she assures us, you don’t need to peel them. Guarnaschelli says those tender inner ribs of celery can be chopped up and added to salsa verde, and you could also toss them into a salad, add them to soups, stir-fry, and more. And don’t forget about the leaves — Guarnaschelli says that the inner yellow leaves are edible.
The next time you find yourself wondering if you can just skip the celery called for in a recipe, don’t do it! Try peeling the tough outer stalks, and don’t forget that you actually can eat the smaller ribs in the middle, and you might realize that not only does your bunch of celery not have to go to waste, but that you actually really like it.
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