Celery seed and celery powder both come from the same plant but can have different properties; for example, there are two different products called celery powder. How you approach these seasonings will have a significant impact on your dish. Learn more about celery seeds and celery powder in the SPICEography below.
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How does celery seed differ from celery powder?
Celery seed and celery powder have different forms. Celery seed is the whole, dried seed of the wild celery plant. Celery powder may consist of the celery seeds ground to a fine powder, or it may refer to the dried leaves and stalks of the celery plant that have also been powdered.
Celery seed and celery powder have different flavor profiles. Whole and powdered celery seeds have a similar flavor to the fresh leaves and stalks of the celery plant, but with a more concentrated, nutty umami element. The flavor of celery powder made from celery seeds infuses into food more quickly than the whole seeds because they have been broken down and can release volatile aromatic oils. Celery powder made from celery leaves and stalks will have a similar flavor to the celery seeds, but it will be more herbaceous.
Celery seed and celery powder can have very different properties depending on the kind of celery powder. Celery seeds work mainly as a seasoning that adds flavor to food whether they are whole or ground. Celery powder made from leaves and stalks will also have nitrites that make the powder useful for preserving meat.
Can one substitute for the other?
Celery seed is a good substitute for the kind of celery powder made from celery seeds, but it won’t necessarily be a good substitute for celery powder made from leaves and stalks. You can use the whole celery seeds to replace celery powder or grind them. Whole celery seeds have a somewhat muted flavor compared to that of the celery seed powder, so you should use more to get the same level of flavor. Celery seed cannot replace celery powder made from the leaves and stalks as a curing agent; however, it works as a 1:1 substitute for seasoning purposes.
Celery powder made from ground celery seed is a good substitute for whole celery seed, but you may have to use less of it since the flavor can be more intense. You should also add the ground celery seed powder later in the cooking process to keep the flavor from being cooked out of the food, since it dissipates faster. Celery powder made from dried celery leaves and stalks has a similar level of flavor as the seeds, so you can use it as a 1:1 substitute.
When should you use celery seed? And when should you use celery powder?
Celery seed can work in any dish that benefits from the celery flavor. Use it in chicken soup, bloody Mary cocktails and stir-fries. Celery seeds are especially useful in applications that don’t need the fibrous bulk and moisture of celery stalks and leaves.
Celery powder made from seeds is a versatile dry rub ingredient. Celery powder from celery leaves and stalks is sometimes used for its flavor — you use it like a less intense celery seed powder — but is also used as a curing agent for meat. As a curing agent, use it to preserve homemade sausages and bacon.