Celery is a versatile vegetable that belongs to the Apiaceae family, along with carrots, parsley, and fennel. This green, crunchy stalk has a distinctive, mildly bitter taste and is widely used in culinary recipes across the globe. It is popular in salads, soups, stir-fries, and as a crunchy snack, often dipped in hummus or peanut butter. Celery is available fresh, but also cooked and processed, such as in canned soups and vegetable juice blends.
Apart from being a flavorful ingredient, celery is known for its numerous health benefits. It is a low-calorie food, high in water content and dietary fiber, making it an ideal choice for weight-loss diets. Consuming celery has also been linked to improved heart health and reducing inflammation due to its significant amounts of antioxidants and vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.
Cooking with celery is generally straightforward, but many people seem to struggle with its unique texture and flavor. A common issue is the stringy exterior of the celery stalks, which some find unpleasant. However, this stringy layer can easily be removed with a vegetable peeler. As for the taste, celery has a mildly bitter profile, which can overpower delicate dishes if used excessively. Therefore, it's crucial to balance it with other ingredients according to the recipe. To get the most out of this vegetable, don't discard the leaves as they are flavorful and nutritious. They can be used in salads, as garnish, or even blended into a green smoothie. Another lesser known fact is that celery can be used as a salt substitute due to it naturally having a high sodium content for a vegetable.
Does celery really have negative calories?
How do I remove the strings from celery?
Why does celery taste bitter?
Can I eat raw celery?
Is it better to cook celery or eat it raw?
Can I substitute celery for another vegetable in a recipe?
How can I soften celery?
Can I use celery leaves in my cooking?
Why is celery used as a base in many recipes?
Can celery be used as a salt substitute?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does celery expire?
Fresh celery usually lasts 1-2 weeks in the fridge if stored properly. Once you've cut or washed it, it will last 3-5 days. Remember that the 'sell by' date is not an expiration date - the celery can still be good 1-2 weeks past this date. It can also be stored in the freezer to extend its life. Once frozen, celery will stay at best quality for 12 months, but it will remain safe to eat beyond this time. However, the texture will change and it is best used as an ingredient in cooking, such as soups or stews, after freezing.
How do you tell if celery is bad?
To tell if celery has gone bad, feel the stalks and look at the color. Fresh celery stalks are firm and crisp, while bad celery may be slimy, limp, or have a mushy texture. Bad celery is usually more yellow than green. Also, a good sniff will help you - if the celery smells off or bad, it's a sure sign that you should toss it.
Tips for storing celery to extend shelf life
• Don't wash the celery until you're ready to use it, as excess moisture can hasten spoiling.
• Store celery in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer to prevent it from drying out. You can also wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it fresh.
• Cut off the leafy part of the celery; it speeds up the wilting process.
• For longer-term storage, you can freeze celery. First, wash and chop it into your desired size. Then, blanch it in boiling water for 1 minute, followed by an immediate cool-down in iced water. Dry it and pack into freezer-friendly bags or containers. Remember, frozen celery is best used for cooking.