Celery is a staple in most kitchens, but most often it’s a supporting player instead of a star. Aside from regular appearances on crudité trays and as a diet snack, celery tends to take a back seat in recipes to other more glamorous vegetables.
Despite that low profile, celery is an indispensable ingredient in almost every cuisine. Its juicy, crisp texture and slightly sweet, distinctly herbal flavor makes it a key aromatic ingredient in stocks, stews, sauces and stuffings.
Celery is available year-round. The green Pascal is the main variety of stalk celery grown in the US. This flavorful variety has dark green leaves and large ribs that grow in full bunches. In recent years, celery hearts have become a very popular and convenient option; the bunch is trimmed down to reveal the milder, more tender and almost stringless inner stalks, leaving more vegetable to enjoy and less waste in each package.
Why choose organic celery?
- Celery is #4 on the Environmental Working Group's “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. You can lower your dietary exposure to pesticides substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and choosing organic for those items instead. So choosing organic celery makes good sense — especially for children, whose growing bodies are so much more susceptible to environmental chemical exposures than adults’.
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our organic celery without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water, and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic celery tastes better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for vegetables like celery and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store celery
- Look for firm, crisp, compact stalks of celery. If the leaves are attached, they should be a vibrant green and look fresh.
- Avoid bunches with brown spots, blemishes, split stalks or other signs of damage; this means the celery is old or was mishandled in shipping. Very large bunches with dark green stalks may be bitter or very stringy.
- Keep your celery refrigerated in its original bag, or rinse the bunch in cold water and store it in a perforated plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Celery can dehydrate rapidly, so leave the ribs attached to the bunch until you’re ready to use it.
- Wash celery thoroughly; use a vegetable brush to remove surface dirt and cut away any damage or bruises before using. Discard celery with cracks, soft or wilted ribs, or a bad smell.
Tips for using celery
- Celery leaves are tender and flavorful, with an herbal note that differs completely from the taste of the ribs. Try them in salsa verde, salads, sauces, soups and stocks, or in place of parsley for a delicious change of pace.
- Peeling (“stringing”) the outer stalks makes a big difference and is worth the effort. Make a shallow cut at the end of each stalk with a paring knife, then pull the outer layer of flesh toward the narrow (leaf) end, catching the strings between your thumb and the blade. A vegetable peeler works, too.
- Useful celery measures: 1-1/3 lbs. celery yields about 1 lb. prepared (trimmed); 1 lb. celery stalks = about 4 cups chopped or sliced; 4 cups raw celery = 3 cups cooked.