Celery is a versatile vegetable that’s low in calories and commonly used in salads, soups, and smoothies. Unfortunately, fresh celery lasts only about a week in the fridge. So, can you freeze celery to make it last longer?
Celery can be frozen to increase its shelf-life. Raw frozen celery will stay fresh in the freezer for six to eight weeks. However, frozen celery can stay fresh for up to 18 months if you blanch it before freezing. Celery loses its crunch when frozen and is best used as an ingredient in cooked dishes.
In this article, I’ll show you how to freeze raw celery properly, along with the pros and cons of freezing this crispy vegetable.
How to Freeze Celery
Freezing celery will allow you to store it for much longer than you can in the refrigerator. Here are the best methods for freezing celery stalks and leaves.
Blanching and Freezing Celery Stalks
Blanching is a process by which you partially cook a vegetable for a couple of minutes to stop the natural enzymes within the veggie from causing a deterioration in the color, texture, and flavor when frozen. Blanching celery before freezing is the best method for long-term storage.
Here is how you blanch and freeze celery stalks:
- Always choose crisp and firm stalks whether you want to eat or freeze celery.
- Wash the stalks using cold water to get rid of dirt.
- Trim the base of your celery stalk using a sharp knife and cut them to your desired length (chopped or several-inch pieces).
- Place a pot filled with fresh water on a stove at high heat settings and let the water boil.
- Add the celery to the boiling water for two to three minutes.
- After that, transfer the boiled celery to a bowl of ice water immediately and let it sit there for a couple of minutes.
- Drain the blanched celery and let it dry thoroughly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chopped pieces on it in a single layer. Make sure that the celery pieces don’t touch each other.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for two to three hours to flash freeze the celery.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and transfer the frozen celery pieces to an airtight freezer bag. Remove the excess air from the bag by squeezing it.
- Label the bag with the current date and transfer it to the freezer for up to 18 months.
Freezing Celery Leaves
One of my favorite things about celery is that almost the entirety of the plant is edible, and that includes the celery’s leaves. Celery leaves can be used in salads, pestos, smoothies, soups, and more.
Celery leaves, however, can be difficult to freeze because they contain a lot of water, so it’s important to prepare the leaves properly before placing them in the freezer.
Here are the steps for freezing celery leaves:
- Wash celery leaves properly and roll them up together into a cylindrical shape (think of a bunch of sage or a cigar).
- Place the rolled leaves inside an airtight freezer bag and make sure they fit at the bag’s bottom perfectly.
- Roll the bag gently and use rubber bands to keep it in the rolled shape.
- Place the freezer bag in the freezer to store celery leaves for up to two months.
By rolling the celery leaves up together and then rolling the bag into multiple protective layers, you will be able to keep celery leaves in the freezer for up to a year.
Important Notes About Freezing Celery (Stalks & Leaves)
- If you plan to use your celery stalk within a month or two, you can skip the blanching step. Just flash freeze the chopped celery and transfer it to an airtight freezer bag to freeze.
- Make sure that you chop your celery stalks because cutting them will be difficult once they’re frozen.
- Don’t transfer the celery pieces or leaves to the freezer if they are not fully dry. Excess fluid and wetness will negatively affect the quality of the vegetable.
How to Use Frozen Celery?
One of the best things about frozen celery is that you don’t need to thaw it before using it. All you need to do is remove the celery stalks, chopped pieces, or leaves from the freezer bag and add them directly to whatever dish you are preparing.
Avoid thawing frozen celery before use as it will tend to make it mushy, and it’ll also lose some flavor.
Keep in mind that frozen celery should only be used for cooked dishes such as stir-fries, stews, and soups. You can also add frozen celery to vegetable stocks, sauces, and casseroles.
I recommend you not to use it as a raw snack because it won’t offer the same satisfying taste and crunch as the fresh vegetable, but you won’t likely even notice it in a cooked dish.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Celery
The main benefit of freezing celery is that it increases the vegetable’s shelf life significantly. If you have celery and are not planning to use it anytime soon, the freezing trick will come in handy and prevent food wastage.
Additionally, you won’t need to visit a grocery store just to buy celery if you have it in your freezer.
On the downside, freezing celery will change the vegetable’s texture and quality, and it’ll lose its crispness. That’s because celery is high in water, which obviously gets frozen in the freezer. If you thaw frozen celery, it’ll lose its water content and become limp.
That’s why you should not use it in recipes that call for fresh ingredients.
How to Tell if Frozen Celery Has Turned Bad?
Celery in your freezer can turn bad, and if this happens, you’ll need to discard it. Consider throwing out your frozen celery if it has the following characteristics.
- Frozen celery that can be easily bent and has turned soft.
- The middle part of the celery is hollowed out.
- The frozen celery pieces have a pale, washed-out color.
Keep in mind that although frozen raw celery that has been blanched will last for up to 18 months in the freezer, you should strive to use it within a year for maximum freshness.
Freezing Celery FAQs
What Is the Best Way to Freeze Celery?
The best way to freeze celery is to place it in boiling water for about three minutes after washing and chopping it. After that, place it in ice-cold water for a couple of minutes to halt the cooking process. Once dry, place it in a freezer-safe bag and put it in your freezer. Doing so will preserve the vegetable’s texture, color, quality, and taste, and it will stay fresh for up to 18 months.
Can You Freeze Celery without Blanching?
Yes, you can freeze celery without blanching if you want. It’s a quick way to store celery and comes in handy if you’re planning to use the frozen vegetable within a couple of months. You can blanch celery if you want to store celery for a longer time.
Can You Freeze Celery – Final Words
Celery is a versatile vegetable that you can use in a wide range of dishes. If you have extra celery, you can always store it in the freezer to extend its shelf life.
Make sure that you use fresh, firm, and crisp celery for freezing purposes, and use the steps listed in this guide to achieve the best results. Lastly, it’s important to remember that frozen celery should only be used for cooked dishes.