Celery seed has been used for generations as a natural allergy remedy as well as in culinary arts. Celery seed has been known to be a good spice to mix with salt and for use in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary. Celery seed has also been used in some famous recipes, such as the Chicago hot dog, and in some New York-style pizzas. Celery seed has a variation called celery seed extract. Though celery seed extract is actually just a refined, liquid form of celery seed, the two are typically used for different purposes.
Celery Seed in Food
Celery seed was once known as "smallage" by the Greeks, who were the first to use celery in cooking and in medicine. It is dark tan to light brown in colour and is often mistaken for cumin powder, which is another spice with a different texture and taste. Celery seed in its spiced form has a bitter, powerful flavour that can overwhelm other spices. For this reason, most recipes that use celery seed usually only call for a pinch of the powerful spice. Celery seed is widely used in soup recipes as well as in recipes calling for blue cheese or potatoes. This is because it can balance out the taste of both subtly, using only a small amount.
Celery Seed Extract in Food
Celery seed extract is simply refined, crushed and liquefied celery seed and is rarely used in food by itself. It has a notable concentration of vitamin B after it has been extracted, making it a very healthy byproduct of celery. Celery seed extract is often used in seafood recipes, most notably tuna or clams, but it is not regularly used for culinary purposes because of its medicinal value.
Celery Seed in Other Uses
Celery seed before extraction is mostly used for cooking and cocktails. However, it is also an integral part of many weight-loss diets because of its keen ability to provide dietary fibre in bulk. Consuming larger amounts of celery seed will stave off hunger because of the fibre and calcium found in pure celery seed. Celery seed can also be mixed with salt to create another valuable spice known as celery salt, which is usually used for spicing larger, more bulky fish dishes.
Celery Seed Extract in Other Uses
Celery seed extract is often used as a purified allergy medication. Its other uses include reduction of blood sugar, easing of menstrual pain, anxiety medication, the aiding of digestion, soothing of painful joints, treatment of cancer and cancer side effects, as well as relief of fluid retention. Celery seed extract is often processed into pill form and can be consumed by individuals suffering from one or more of these afflictions. The University of Maryland cautions, however, that there are no scientific studies that supprt these health claims.