How to Store Celery to Enjoy It Fresh Longer
Celery is a versatile vegetable you can use in many recipes, from soups and stews to salads and stir-fries. However, it can quickly become wilted and lifeless if you don’t know how to store celery properly. Discover our best tips and tricks for keeping celery fresh longer.
Celery is a green, leafy vegetable with a crunchy texture and a slightly bitter taste. It should be added to any balanced diet, thanks to its health benefits.
Specifically, celery is an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin K, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin C. It also contains an anti-inflammatory compound called apigenin, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
You can use celery in different dishes, such as soups and salads. It’s possible to grill it on a barbecue, sautée it with other vegetables, or add it to casseroles and stews.
Unfortunately, celery remains fresh for a short time when left on the kitchen counter. So if you don’t plan on using it right away, you should store it in the fridge. But a long-term solution is to freeze celery; this helps preserve its vitamins and minerals.
Keep reading to discover the best ways to freeze and store celery!
How to Store Celery Sticks
Check out the following tips and tricks for storing celery properly:
- Wash and dry the celery before storing it – make sure there is no dirt or sand left on the stalks, then pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Don’t peel the stalks before storing them. Instead, trim off about half an inch from the base of each stalk with a sharp knife.Doing this will help conserve most nutrients and flavor until you are ready to consume the veggie.
- After peeling the stalks, wrap them individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Both wrapping modes work equally well for keeping celery fresh in the refrigerator. The plastic wrap should be tightly sealed around the stalks, while the aluminum foil should be folded over in between each stalk.
- Store the wrapped celery in the vegetable crisper or an open container in the main compartment of your fridge. If the container is closed, ensure there’s enough room for air circulation. Otherwise, excess moisture will build up inside the wrapping and cause the celery to rot significantly faster.
- Don’t allow any part of the vegetable to remain submerged in water. It can quickly lead to mold or rot developing on celery, and the most common spot for this is the base of the stalks.Make sure to drain excess water from a bowl or dish before placing the wrapped celery inside.
- If you wish to store the wrapped celery for more than 2 weeks, it’s best to move it to the freezer.
- When you’re ready to eat the celery, remove it from its wrapping and cut away any parts that have started wilting or rotting. Rinse the rest under cool running water and pat dry before preparing and serving.
- If you want to purchase celery that will last longer without wilting, look for braided celeries in the supermarket. These are specially designed to stay fresh for up to 3 weeks under refrigeration, which is why you can purchase them ahead of time.
Can You Freeze Celery?
Freezing celery is a great way to preserve your celery through the colder months. It’s also a convenient way of having fresh celery on hand at all times. Once you know how, freezing celery is easy and quick.
What about freezing fresh celery?
Although it’s possible to freeze fresh celery without doing anything special, it won’t last for more than 2 months.
Besides, standard freezing conditions will cause the vegetable to lose its texture and flavor – you might not even be able to take full advantage of the nutritional contents. But there’s a simple workaround for this issue: blanching.
How to Freeze Celery the Right Way
Blanching is the best way to freeze celery while preserving all its health benefits. It halts the enzyme activity that leads to flavor and texture loss, kills off bacteria and microorganisms, and retains nutrients.
It’s actually not as complicated as it sounds – just boiling and cooling. When it comes to this particular vegetable, blanching helps store frozen celery for up to 12 to 18 months.
Check out the following step-by-step instructions for how to freeze celery the correct way using the blanching technique:
Step 1: Gather your supplies and make preparations
You will need a large bowl, a large pot, enough resealable freezer bags to contain the celery, a baking sheet that fits your freezer, parchment paper, a timer, and plenty of water.
Pour water into the large bowl, transfer it to the fridge, and keep it there until the water is ice cold – this part is essential for blanching the celery!
Step 2: Pick the celery
Grab celery from your garden. If you don’t have a garden, check out your local supermarket for lightly colored stalks without too many brown spots.
Make sure it’s nice and crispy before you start this process! Or you can get a stalk from your refrigerator if you’ve been storing it there.
Step 3: Wash the celery
Place the celery stalks under cold running water and make sure to remove any dirt while paying special attention to the crevices. It’s also possible to submerge celery in a large bowl of cold water and let it soak for a couple of minutes.
If you fear that any insects or bacteria are living on the surface of the stalks, add a bit of vinegar to the cold water and mix it well. Then you can air-dry the celery using a colander.
Step 4: Remove any damaged parts
After washing the celery, cut off the ends where they look crispy or brown. You don’t have to concern yourself with this step if you have fresh celery with light green or white stems.
Step 5: Cut the celery
Chop the celery or cut it into smaller pieces using a sharp knife and a cutting board. Just think about the portion sizes that you will be using when adding celery to your recipes. This way, you won’t have to thaw an entire stalk just to be able to use a small part of it.
Step 6: Boil the celery
Fill a large pot with water, put it on your stove, and set it to boil. While waiting, remove the bowl of ice-cold water from the fridge and place it nearby on your kitchen counter.
When the water reaches boiling point, place the celery in. Be careful so that you don’t accidentally burn yourself! Set the timer for 3 minutes. Don’t leave the celery in the boiling water for too long or it will lose its nutrients!
Step 7: Cool off the celery
Move the hot celery to the bowl of ice-cold water and leave it there for 3 minutes or until it’s cold to the touch. While waiting, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make sure to dry the celery before proceeding to the next step; you can use the colander.
Step 8: Pre-freeze the celery
Transfer the celery to the baking sheet and create a single layer of stalks, making sure they don’t touch each other. Otherwise, they will likely break when trying to separate them after they’re already frozen. If you don’t have enough room, cut smaller pieces of parchment paper and use them to divide the stalks.
However, if you don’t have enough room, don’t try to stack up the celery since the stalks won’t freeze evenly. Instead, you can use multiple baking sheets or wait until the first batch is done before proceeding to the next. While waiting, keep the celery in the ice-cold water, which you can temporarily store in your fridge.
Place the baking sheet in your freezer for 2 hours.
Step 9: Freeze the celery for long-term storage
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, transfer the stalks to resealable freezer bags, and remove any excess air before sealing them.
Label the bags with the current date and move them back to the freezer. They should last for up to 12 to 18 months in this state.
Discover additional details about celery and how to store it properly:
What is the best way to store celery?
Celery will keep for several days under refrigeration if you wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum foil. If you want to store it longer than 2 weeks, purchase celery packaged in a braided shape and keep it in your crisper.
However, if you’re looking for a long-term solution, consider blanching celery and storing it in your freezer. It will last for up to 12 to 18 months.
How long does celery last in the fridge?
Celery should keep for around 1 to 2 weeks under normal refrigerator conditions.
How to cut celery?
Cutting celery is a simple process. First, trim the bottom of the celery. You can discard the stringy pieces at the bottom or save them for adding to soups and stocks later on. Next, you should trim away any pieces that look wilted or bruised.
To obtain chopped celery, you need to cut the celery into smaller pieces of about 1/2-inch in thickness. Afterward, you can chop them to your desired size and shape.
How to tell if celery is bad?
Celery naturally wilts or starts to dry out when it’s starting to age. If the color starts fading, it’s best to discard the celery.
How to make celery juice?
Start by washing and cutting the celery into pieces. Next, put it in a juicer or blender and process it until you achieve the desired consistency.
You can add water to make the juice thinner and create a larger serving size. But keep in mind that doing so will also reduce its nutritional benefits.
Celery is a healthy vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. You can eat it raw, cooked, or even make juice out of it. And you can easily grow celery at home.
However, if you want to enjoy it longer, it’s essential to learn how to store and freeze celery. This will give you a tasty vegetable to use in your recipes even months after purchase.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for freezing and storing celery? Let us know in the comment section below.