Is a celery stalk one rib or the whole thing?

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Wiki User
2009-10-03 02:26:22

The appropriate culinary terminology is "rib" for one

piece/stick, and "stalk" for the entire thing/bunch/head. This does

not reflect common usage, however, so use caution in

interpreting recipes.

These terms, however, are not used consistently even by food

professionals. "Celery stalk," in American English, is commonly

used to mean one piece/rib/stick of celery (in British English,

correct me if I'm wrong, it seems more common to say "celery

stick"). Also in American English, the whole thing may be referred

to as a "bunch of celery." It is sometimes also called a "head" of


From my online research (after reading it in an older cookbook)

it seems that the correct culinary terminology is "rib" for the

single piece/stick, and "stalk" for the whole thing/bunch/head. I

was not able to find any botanical terminology describing "rib" and

"stalk" (but I'll keep working on it).

I would be cautious in interpreting recipes. If the recipe calls

for a chopped carrot, a small chopped onion, and a chopped celery

stalk... I would go with a rib. Consider the proportion of

ingredients when deciding if the author of the recipe meant a rib

or the whole bunch.

On the other hand, in authoring a recipe, I would choose the

more correct term "rib" (which never means the whole bunch) to

describe a single piece. The term "bunch" of celery, while maybe

not elegant, seems unlikely to cause confusion either. When using

the term "stalk," though, it seems prudent to describe exactly what

you mean.

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