Tips for Preserving Celery
Celery does not keep well on its own. This can present problems for the person who grows a row of it in the garden and wants to have celery during the winter season.
One method involves pulling up the celery by its roots, maintaining as much of the root structure as conveniently possible. It can then be stored in a trench-like arrangement (about a foot wide and two feet deep) standing upright and packed close together. Water the roots, try to keep the stalks and leaves dry. Over the celery place a board. Then place soil over the board and some straw over that. The celery may then be used as needed. Of course, the celery will become less firm over time and the flavor may change slightly.1
Celery may also be stored in a cellar in a similar manner, if the roots are kept moist, it can last up to a month in a fairly fresh condition. Also, celery that has been grown using the trench method can remain in the garden for a month or more after the first frost. Generally, it is a bad idea to store celery with onions, turnips, or cabbage. These plants may degrade the flavor of the celery.
Another way to preserve celery is to freeze it. Chop the celery and place it in water. Since freezing celery makes it lose crispness it should only be used for cooking. Freezing makes for very limp celery sticks.
Celery can also be dried. Trim the stalks down and wash them. Next, chop the celery stalks and place them in a dehydrator. This process will take 24-48 hours in a dehydrating machine (but even up to several days is okay). Drying can be done in an oven in 4-6 hours. Store celery in an air-tight jar until used. Also, celery leaves may be dried, crumbled and used as a spice.
Plan ahead. Consider how it will be used. A great way to preserve celery is to make mirepoix. This is a mixture of carrots, onions, and celery, which is a great base for soups. The mixture can be frozen and will be a big time-saver when the time comes to make soup or stew.
Yet another solution is to put celery in a sweet pickle mix. This mixture must have vinegar and salt in it to preserve the celery properly. The celery will take on a different flavoring so that is something that must be considered before adding it to any specially planned dishes. Celery seeds are also often called for in pickle recipes.2
Celery can be preserved in recipes and dishes that are canned or frozen.
2. Pickle Recipes