Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ugly fruit and vegetables: custard apple and celeriac (plus celeriac mash)

I am still enjoying new fruit and vegetable discoveries. Indeed, it's rather lovely knowing that the discoveries are likely to continue almost indefinitely, given how many varieties are out there.

In saying that, my latest 'new discoveries' are a bit unappealing from the outside.


The custard apple (top) is attractive in a unique, spiky sort of way, but celeriac (bottom)...well, it is clearly in the root vegetable family. I think it's best to leave it at that.

Neither of these products are entirely new, at least in the sense that I have known about them for some time. However, I only got around to actually buying and trying them this week. I did this with the expectation of liking the custard apple and finding the celeriac a bit bland, akin to a parsnip or turnip.

Expectations aren't always correct.

The custard apple was very sweet, even to my sweet tooth, and I was not a fan of the texture. It reminded me of eating fish, which is not generally what I look for in a fruit. I also found the black seeds a bit off-putting.


All in all, this may be the first and last custard apple I eat. However, if you are keen to try them yourself, custard apples are high in Vitamin C and also provide potassium and magnesium, and of course natural sweetness.



The celeriac, in contrast, was subtly sweet in a most pleasing way. I knew it was related to celery but hadn't expected it to taste of celery. It does. It's rather wonderful, especially as it is so bland to look at.


My previous knowledge of celeriac came from Lisa's post on celeriac mashed potato at Bake Bike Blog, and the feature on celeriac in Coles' current August magazine. It is rare that my reading of supermarket magazines proves useful, so this was a nice exception, even if my celeriac didn't actually come from Coles.

Lisa and Coles both led me to believe that mashed celeriac may be a good thing. I can't remember the last time I had mashed potato, but mashed celeriac seemed like something worth trying - and now that I've had it, I can attest that to be true.


It was slightly sweet, with celery tones that defy the fluffy texture, and made quite a wonderful side dish. I added nutritional yeast and smoked paprika for extra flavour, and paired the mash with some tinned Mexican chilli beans, resulting in a vegetable based dinner that was just perfect for winter.



I am not sure how well it would stand in for traditional mashed potato (which is richer and thicker), but if you're after an alternative and can look past the odd exterior - well, celeriac may be your vegetable.

Celeriac mash

Serves 2 as a side dish


Ingredients
1 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place the celeriac in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. This should leave the celeriac soft.

Drain the celeriac and mash using a masher or fork. Add the nutritional yeast and paprika and mix through. Season with salt and pepper if desired.



Celeriac, you are much better than parsnip or turnip.

You are also surprisingly high in Vitamin K, which Wikipedia tells me is good for bone health - so I'll take that as a bonus.


Percentages in this table are percents of
Recommended Daily Intake as per US guidelines


Have you tried any new fruits or vegetables lately? Or are you a fan of custard apple or celeriac?

37 comments:

  1. never tried custard apple but anything that reminds me of fish sounds horrid! On the other hand I love celeriac - it is such a beastly looking vegetable and yet it is so yummy in a soup or stew - anywhere you would include celery - I remember having it in a split pea soup and I think I have done a mash with it where it is mashed up with potato.

    As for discovering new fruit and veg - I sometimes feel as soon as I discover new ones someone is out there creating more

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    1. It's lovely, isn't it? A never ending range of produce to find. Celeriac is definitely one of my better discoveries for a while, and I'm looking forawrd to trying it in other forms too - soup and stew are great suggestions.

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  2. I’m putting it on the menu next week!( i hope so )

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    1. I think I'll be putting celeriac on the menu again soon too :-)

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  3. I prefer my fruit to by either super-crispy or tart-sweet, so I've never really fallen for custard apple either. It's nice in smoothies, though, for the creaminess. Roasted celeriac is lovely too!

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    1. Ooh, I love those ideas. In fact, you just allowed me to rescue the remaining half custard apple, by freezing it for future smoothie use. It was slated for the bin so I'm sure it's grateful to you :D

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  4. I feel like a bad dietitian...I have never even heard of custard apple or celeriac!! This dish looks absolutely amazing! A+ for uniqueness!!!

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    1. I wonder how common they are in different parts of the world? It's taken me 28 years to purchase and try them, so I definitely wouldn't feel too badly! They're also more of a fresh market purchase than a supermarket one around here, although celeriac is becoming more common I think.

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  5. I don't recall eating custard apple before and am not that keen on it after hearing your impressions. I find it odd that I enjoy celeriac given that I am not very fond of celery but it do enjoy it mashed, roasted or in soups. I like the sound of the additions in your mash.

    I haven't tried many new things lately apart from the borage in my garden which was interesting to experiment with.

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    1. And the boarage in your garden was home grown and free, which is a double bonus in my view :)

      It is odd how celeriac has the (slight) taste of celery yet such a different texture - I can understand that you'd like one and not the other. I am going to have to try celeriac in roast form soon!

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  6. Yes, both these vegetables need a make-over. I love celeriac and it's delicious like you've made it, in a mash. The custard apple however, is difficult. I just wouldn't know what to do with one or how to eat it. It has a difficult skin to remove, it has all those seeds and it just isn't something you can throw in a kid's lunch box. I should google the custard apple though and see what recipes you can use them in xx

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    1. No, definitely not a lunch box fruit! You inspired me to google recipes myself and it seems there are a few out there if I decide to buy these again. The most unexpected was in green chicken curry - who would have thought?!

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  7. Kari too funny. I can't imagine why you wouldn't want your fruit to be likened to a fish :-)
    I'm sure I have tasted custard apple but I can't recall it at all.

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  8. Kari, I had to laugh at your title about "ugly" veggies as I have just written about "ugly" exercise. I've tried custard apples, but not celeriac. Will have to give Lisa's mash a shot!

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    1. I guess there's a place for all sorts of ugliness :D

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  9. I do love custard apples, but have never tried the mysterious looking celeriac.

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    1. Well, I am glad that you like custard apples because I feel as if someone should and clearly it isn't going to be me!

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  10. I have never tried a custard apple but have eaten celeraic quite a bit and agree with you - it's great, despite its weird and wonderful appearance.

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    1. Weird and wonderful definitely sums it up!

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  11. I am actually new to the parsnip family. :) I tried it for the first time a while back and actually liked it. I wonder if I could find the Celeriac where I live?? :) Great recipe Kari!

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    1. Maybe? A big supermarket might stock it, otherwise if you have access to any farmers markets or similar. I'm not sure how common it is really!

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  12. I've never even heard of those two! I'd love to try them both! The only thing I will not try when it comes to ugly fruits and veggies is durian! No thank you!

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    1. Oh, me neither! I have no desire to go near that!

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  13. Very interesting! You know, I have never tried either one of these!
    Thanks for the recap. This recipe sounds good! I will have to keep my eye out for celeriac!

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    1. Thanks Kristen - I hope you can track some down!

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  14. I haven't tried either of these! Last winter I loved making mashed "potatoes" with cauliflower though, so I bet I'd like the mash!

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    1. I still need to try mashed cauliflower! I should get on to that this winter (given it's winter here) :)

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  15. I have a never-ending sweet tooth so I need to try that custard apple! We'll see if it can out-sweet me. :P

    As for celeriac...I absolutely HATE celery so I am not a fan, sadly enough.

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    1. Ah well, someone has to like the custard apple and not the celeriac :P

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  16. wow! I wouldn't even know where to start with this! good to know!

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  17. Custard apples are creepy! I DO like the sound of that mash though, will have to keep my eyes peeled for some celeriac.

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    1. Definitely do! I'm planning on buying two when I'm next at the markets :)

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  18. Andy and I are both pretty meh about custard apple. A very close relative called the rollinia, though, is super duper seriously delicious. It looks almost exactly like a custard apple from outside, but inside tastes like lemon meringue - so if you ever see it, you should snatch it up to try.

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    1. A fruit that tastes like lemon meringue?! I will definitely pick it up if I ever see one!

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  19. I bought my first and last custard apple today. I bought it because I love custard and I thought it was going to taste like it, but sadly it did not :-) It was very very sweet and it had a hint of black pepper to it and I thought the combination of sweetness and black pepper was horrible. I ate the whole thing though, because I felt bad about throwing it away.
    I've never had celeriac before but I am very intrigued about it after reading your post and can't wait to get some and try it. I like celery and I like parsnips, so I think I will enjoy the celeriac :-)

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