Celery is one of those vegetables that tends to sit around in the refrigerator after you buy a bunch because a recipe for soup or stew or, as Thanksgiving approaches, stuffing calls for one stalk. Celery keeps for weeks, but a lot of drooping stalks still get thrown away. That’s too bad, because there are plenty of things to do with this vegetable, and the tender inner stalks that probably didn’t get used — the heart — are the best part.

Celery contains phytochemicals called phthalides, which some studies have shown reduce stress hormones and work to relax the muscle walls in arteries, increasing blood flow. As a result, it has long been used in Chinese medicine to help control high blood pressure. Celery is an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of potassium, folate, dietary fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and vitamin B6. --Martha Rose Shulman

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