Celery is one of my favorite vegetables, but every once in a while I'll get some that tastes bitter. Sometimes it also has an odd aroma like maple. Does anyone know what causes this? I had assumed it was something they sprayed it with. But lately I've only been buying the organic kind and I still get this on occasion. My mom said she read somewhere that the drought in many areas was causing produce to be weird and she thought perhaps this was the reason.
There can be many things that account for the bitter taste that celery sometimes has. One is that even in the organic stores, the produce people 'perk up' wilted celery and greens by soaking them in tepid water, then refrigerating. The celery absorbs the water and chilling causes it to retain it, thus producing the firm, 'just picked' freshness we see. I've inquired about the water that is used in one small reputable coop and they use filtered water but I imagine larger stores probably use tap water and this might cause a chemical taste.
Growing conditions are probably partially to blame too, because I find that some of the local celery I get that I know is grown is rich soil (Olympic Peninsula, Washington State) tastes sweet and delicious. I've noticed that in the spring and summer the quality of celery goes down, at least here in the Seattle area. I'm not talking about the stuff that is available at farmers markets and the like -- that will be very fresh and usually of high quality. I'm referring to the regular celery that is sold in supermarkets. I just bought some yesterday and had to throw half of it away.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't eat anything that tastes bad to you. When I buy celery and it tastes bitter, I know that this either means there's something in it that I can't digest, or my body doesn't need it. It's most likely the former as I don't think celery would necessarily taste bad if I didn't need it, it just wouldn't appeal.
Hope this is helpful.
Hmmm... Well, I'm probably getting the same celery as you are since I'm in the Seattle area too. What I had last night was slightly bitter but not as bad as some I'd had. The absolute worst was when I lived on Cape Cod. I can't recall where it was grown, but there was something really wrong with it because it made my tongue go numb with the first bite. That really scared me because I was pregnant at the time. Luckily nothing else bad happened aside from the numb tongue.
I haven't really noticed any difference in other produce. Just the celery. But if like you say they are spraying it with water to crisp it up, then I might be buying stuff that is past its prime. If lettuce looks wilted or peppers look wrinkled and soft, I won't buy them. But I could be buying bad celery and not knowing it. I get organic produce boxes from Full Circle Farm. I don't think they grew this celery though. Not everything I get is from them.
You'll never have bitter celery, or lettuce, if you smell it first before buying. The bitter smell is totally indicative of the same in taste. It saves money and aggravation.
I have never noticed it. I usually go straight for the heart..................
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Oddly, I did sniff it and it doesn't smell bitter. Not that I had any choice in the matter because it came in my organic produce box. But I will try sniffing it in the store next time I buy it.
Originally Posted by CAdreamer
I don't care much for the hearts. I find it odd that they charge more for that because that's the part I throw away. I like the flavor of the outer ribs better.
Originally Posted by spicyfull
A lot of veggies become bitter, depending on the soil they're grown in, the season, heat, patterns of watering -- I notice this especially in my hot climate if I try to grow ccucumbers or lettuce too late (and thus, when it's too hot) in the season. Just another argument for eating according to the seasons, I guess. :)
Celery, like cukes require alot of water when growing or become bitter. Perhaps the short boughts of HOT weather we have been having the the PNW contirbuted to this. Just a thought....
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