Celery is a humble hero in the kitchen. Simply put out some dip and you have yourself a crudité platter. Trying to trick your tot into eating a vegetable? Just add a smear of peanut butter and a sprinkling of raisins for ants on a log (and the sweet taste of success). Cooking with the stuff adds depth of flavor to a whole host of dishes since this herbaceous and mildly peppery ingredient performs like a pro on the stovetop. For all these reasons and more (Bloody Marys, anyone?) a fresh head of celery should always have a home in your kitchen...at least until that sad moment when you reach into the fridge and pull out a soft and withered rib. Fortunately, your dinner plans need not be foiled by a limp vegetable because as long as you know how to store celery correctly, that trusty cooking companion will stay healthy for weeks.
How to Store Whole Celery
As soon as you bring home a head of celery, dispense with the plastic packaging before sending the vegetable into the fridge. Those plastic bags might seem convenient but they don’t let celery breathe, and that means those precious stalks end up being trapped with all the ethylene gasses that cause ripening (and rotting). Still, loss of moisture is the enemy when it comes to keeping celery crispy, so it does need some kind of cover and the swaddle of choice might surprise you. While we usually reserve aluminum foil for leftovers, it’s actually your best bet for preserving this particular type of produce. Wrap your uncut celery tightly in aluminum foil but leave a small opening so the ethylene gasses can escape while all the moisture sticks around; then store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. The outcome of this clever storage hack? Fresh flavor and snappy stalks that will satisfy all your culinary cravings for two to four weeks.
How to Store Celery That’s Missing a Rib (or Three)
It doesn’t matter if you chopped a celery stick off the stalk for an afternoon snack or used it to make mirepoix magic—either way, you’re going to need to store that head of celery a bit differently than if it were still intact. Once a celery bunch has been breached, it needs a little extra help to ensure all that flavorful moisture stays put. The solution is simple: Once you remove a rib or two, just place the remainder of the celery stem into a plastic container filled with water and make sure the celery is submerged before you put an air-tight lid on it and place in the fridge. When stored in this way, this versatile ingredient will stay hydrated enough for future kitchen adventures.
How to Store Cut and Prepped Celery
Hosting a party and want to get a head start on prepping the snacks? Good thinking. Fortunately, you can clean and cut your celery ribs into sticks up to two days in advance of the event. In this case, no water is needed—the extra trimming involved in making that ranch dressing vehicle requires dry storage or your fresh veggies might be a flop. Once you’ve chopped your vegetables, toss that snack straight into an airtight Tupperware and keep it in the crisper drawer of the fridge until game day.