Celery finds its way to most of the dishes in our kitchen from salads, stir fry to garnish our favorite dishes. I bet you love the crunch when you eat it raw as a light snack.
You will hear the crunch and feel its crispness only when it is fresh. Whenever you pull put the celery stalks from the refrigerator, you might be wondering has the vegetable lost its slenderness already.
I am very finicky when it comes to including limp stalks in my soups or any other dishes.
I want them to be as fresh as it is when I got them from the grocery store. Keep in mind to check the crispness of the stalks when you buy it from the local store as this vegetable can go limp if not stored properly.
So, if you want to enjoy this vegetable in all its freshness, you should know how long does Celery last whether you store it in the fridge or outside.
How long does celery last? What exactly do we mean here by “last”? We all are aware that there is no “eat by date” or “use by date” or “best before date” for these fresh veggies.
In this context, “last” refers to celery being edible and fresh with all its crunchiness. Not that it is not safe to consume celery that has gone limp, most of us do not prefer using limp stalks.
So here is a guide to tell you how long it will stay fresh and what you can do to increase the useful shelf life of this low-calorie powerhouse of vitamins.
- Time for Some Fun Facts About Celery
- How Long Does Celery Last?
- Here Are the Simple Tips for Storing Celery Properly
- How to Tell If Celery Is Nearing the End of Its Shelf Life?
- What about cooked Celery?
- How to use celery?
Time for Some Fun Facts About Celery
Before we delve into too many technical details, let’s go through some interesting facts about the vegetable.
Did you know that Celery was used in treating toothache, insomnia, hypertension, and arthritis? Yes, it was used as a medicine to treat the above ailments or conditions.
Believe it or not, this vegetable has a cultivation history of more than 3000 years. It was cultivated in the Mediterranean Region; however, the earliest reference to it being used as a food dates back to the 16th century in Italy.
In Ancient Greece, these vegetable stalks were used as “bouquet of flowers” to compliment the winners of athletic games. Indeed, it a great choice to keep in mind all the nutrition this veggie has to offer.
April month is celebrated as Celery month.
How Long Does Celery Last?
- Whole celery can last up to three or four weeks if stored properly (we will tell you how in the coming section)
- Chopped and packed celery boxed will last for 3 or 4 days.
- Once you cook it, you can store and use it for about a week.
- You can store chopped celery in the refrigerator for a week or two.
- Frozen Celery can stay for about 6 to 8 months. You will have to first blanch the stalks and then use a freezer-safe container to store them. The stalks that you preserve this way can only be used in cooked dishes.
Now you have an idea of how long the celery stalks will stay fresh in or out of the refrigerator. All this being said, you must store these fresh vegetables the right way to help keep them fresh for a longer time. Let’s take a look at how you should be storing these veggies.
Here Are the Simple Tips for Storing Celery Properly
Tip # 1
Know the shelf life in each type of storage discussed above, so you use them before they become unfit for consumption.
Tip # 2 – Proper storage is the key
We always should store celery in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. Before you stash them away in the bin, make sure you wrap it properly.
You can wrap it in a damp paper towel and store it. However, I find the aluminum foil wrap a better way to store it. You could also use resealable plastic bags or individual plastic containers designed to store celery for the best results.
No matter how you wrap, it remembers to keep in it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Remember to keep the temperature in the refrigerator constant at all times. Stream this video to know more about using aluminum foil to wrap celery.
Secret as to why aluminum foil is my favorite – It stops the over-ripening of the vegetable and will help in maintaining its crispness.
Pro tip – chop off the base and the leaves before wrapping it in the aluminum foil so that it remains crisp for a few weeks
Tip # 3 – Freezing celery for long term storage
If you have had a bountiful harvest of celery from your kitchen garden or bought in bulk from a clearance sale, you will have to use the freezing method to store them for long term use. Store them in freezer bags and use them for your soups or any other cooked dishes.
Follow the instructions below to freeze celery
- Wash the celery stalks thoroughly
- Chop them into small pieces about 1 or 1.5 inches in size.
- Boil the chopped pieces in boiling water for 3 minutes and immediately transfer these pieces to ice-cold water. Ice water will stop the cooking process. This is referred to as blanching.
- Drain the excess water.
Now transfer the chopped celery pieces into a freezer bag and stash it in the freezer immediately.
Tip # 4 – Re-crisp the limp celery
Do you have some celery you stored in the refrigerator that has become soft? Do not worry; you can use this trick to re-crisp the celery.
- Wash the stalks that you will need for your dish.
- Cut the stalks into small strips
- Put them in a container of ice water and leave it for a few hours.
- Drain off the excess water, and you will find the once limp stalks have become firm and crispy.
You could also store them in an airtight container, and they would stay fresh for a few days.
How to Tell If Celery Is Nearing the End of Its Shelf Life?
If you cannot remember when you bought the celery from the local grocery and want to add these stalks to your recipe but not sure if they are fresh enough. Look for these signs that will tell if the green stalks can be used for your recipes.
From experience, you will know that fresh stalks of celery will be firm and light green. You should be able to hear the loud snap sound when you break it.
The ones that are beginning to get stale will have a whitish color and would have started becoming hollow in the middle. They also tend to become soft and bendable. If you notice, you will know they have a strange odor to it.
What about cooked Celery?
I am not a fan of storing cooked celery for using it later. However, if you do have cooked dishes with celery, you should be using it within 3 to 5 days.
This also depends on how fresh the other ingredients are in the dish. You could also store the cooked celery for a longer duration in the freezer using airtight freezer-safe containers.
How to use celery?
You can remove the base of the celery. Remove the leaves so that you can store them for a longer time. Do not discard the leaves; you can use them in your salads to add an excellent flavor to it.
Besides, the leaves also contain the right amount of Vitamin C, Potassium, and Calcium. Cut the stalks into small pieces. You can add these pieces to your soups or stir fry dishes. Adding them to fresh carrot juice will also add a different flavor to the drink.
Celery leaves can be used as a substitute to parsley leaves. I bet you will enjoy eating the fresh stalks with a dash of peanut butter. It would make for a great snack.
Is that too much of information on Celery? I hope you liked our article, and more importantly, we hope it was of help to you. Let us know if you have any comments or queries by posting them in the section below. Also, let us know of any trick that has worked better for you.
Few takeaway points before we conclude the article:
- Know the shelf life in each type of storage
- Store it properly with wraps and plastic bags
- Blanch the stalks before your freeze celery.
- You can safely use celery that is appropriately stored in the fridge for a week or two.
Celery can stay fresh over al longer period as compared with other veggies such as lettuce or parsley. So, store it the right way to enjoy the goodness of this vegetable for a more extended period.