The essence of celery

Tasteless compounds in celery give the vegetable essential flavoring powers.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM February 6, 2008

Celery has a certain something, as most chefs will tell you. Even though the vegetable's flavor is mild, it's an ingredient in a variety of soup recipes.

To figure out how celery has gained its popularity among cooks, Japanese scientists studied chemical compounds that give the vegetable its smell. In previous experiments, the researchers had zeroed in on a collection of these compounds, called phthalides (pronounced thaă' līdz).

Celery may seem fairly tasteless and boring, but surprise—some tasteless chemicals in this veggie really punch up the flavor of soups.

Celery may seem fairly tasteless and boring, but surprise—s...

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