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Freezing Celery - yay or ney

Can you freeze celery, and if so, how?

I've always assumed you can *not* freeze celery, even in a chopped form to be used later an aromatic. I'm asking since the most I can use at a time is 3-4 stalks and then the rest goes to waste.

I though perhaps if you frooze it chopped, in soup stock, it might survive. Anyone have any experience?

I found this which gives minor info, lots of no's on freezing, one yes. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/371463

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  1. I've done it with no problems. Freeze raw, uncut stalks and you can use it later for cooking.

    1. If you're gonna freeze them and the use as an aromatic (soup or roast, then thrown out) you're fine. I do this when I remember to wrap and freeze before it turns rotten in the bottom of the crisper. Hard to use a whole head of celery unless you're making crudites or soup, or a big vat of potato/chicken salad etc...

      1. Celery is basically water. When freezing it you are going to cause the water in the cells to expand and turn the veg to mush. So if you are going to use it is soup or stock okay. Anything requiring fresh celery, it will be unacceptable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Candy

          I give it a rough chop and freeze it in ice cube tray portions that are later moved to zip-lock bags for long term storage.

        2. I chop it up with bell pepper and onion for jambalaya and freeze it. Works fine, but I wouldn't bother freezing unchopped.

          1. I freeze & use it as the others have detailed. I also dehydrate it. The flavor intensifies and this form is very handy too. My freezer is small & always pretty full, so the dehydrator helps me prevent the biology experiment that my crisper seems to want to transform into!

            2 Replies
            1. re: meatn3

              do you use this in sauces, soups, etc? (I've seen it in soup mixes, so I imagine so). I wonder if you could powder it for celery essence? I love celery in so many way. I wonder if , rehydrated, this could work in a salad (egg, chicken) or would it be soggy? Would it rehydrate in the dressing or do you have to soak it in a hot liquid?

              I'm sorry for asking so many questions; it never occurred to me to dehydrate it and I throw flaccid celery away all the time.

              1. re: dockhl

                I first started doing this for back-packing, back in the day when there were few pre-made products that were tasty and/or reasonably priced. Dehydrated = light weight...! (And back in the day when backpacking was an enjoyable option for me!)

                I haven't used the celery in sauces. I think it could be used well to create a reduction sort of essence, if the solids were strained out. I do briefly rehydrate in hot liquid for stews/soups (like what you do with dried fruit or mushrooms). I have never considered grinding it into a powder, but now that you suggest the idea I am very excited by it! I'm having thoughts of sprinkling it over cottage cheese and tomatoes...

                I find the reconstituted texture to not lend itself to chicken salad,etc. The crunch just can't be regained and the texture in a salad is less than desired - actually rather ick. The flavor is good & imo stronger than fresh, so it works well in cooked dishes. I also have not tried it in dressing - when I make that I am usually making a large enough portion that I can use most of a freshly purchased batch.

            2. How about using leftovers (when you have enough) to make cream of celery soup and then freezing that? I think there wouldn't be a texture problem then.

              1. Wrap the stalk in aluminum foil and it lasts for weeks in the fridge. I think I read that in a Heloise column years ago, tried it, and it works. You might have to trim the ends a little, but you'll be surprised at how long it lasts.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nemo

                  I haven't tried foil (I think I will next time), but I keep celery by cutting off the end, washing the individual spears, and putting them in an over-sized plastic bag with a couple of paper towels in the bottom. Put the celery stalks cut side down on top of the paper towels while they are still damp. Fill the bag with air so the plastic doesn't lay on the celery and seal as tightly as possible. This lasts weeks in the crisper. I need a few stalks of celery several times a week, and can usually use up an entire head before it goes bad storing it this way.

                2. When I ran a restaurant, I used to buy celery by the box and green pepper by the bushell directly from the farmers in the fall (actually many many boxes and bushells).
                  We'd chop them, mix in appropriate ratios for our uses, and freeze on a tray. Next day, I'd loosen the mix (turning it to "IQF") and store in plastic.
                  This would go into soups and pasta sauces with no problems.
                  Of course we'd do it to save money when a bushel of green pepper would cost $4-$6 and later in January, a bushel would top $30...
                  If'n you need a fresher product (other than in a sauce or soup application), previously frozen celery is no good.

                  1. with celery so inexpensive, and widely avaialabel, why bother?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: swsidejim

                      Well, for me it is because I just can't use it up that fast & I really hate wasting food. It is not the money, it is more the principal of it. If I need just a little I'll sometimes buy just that amount from a salad bar rather than have the whole thing potentially rot in my crisper - sometimes crypt-er would be more accurate.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        I can unserstand that issue, luckily I make alot of soups, and cajun food that require celery in them so waste is never an issue.

                    2. At the Safeway near me, you can buy individual stalks of celery. If you can find that in a store near you, it could save you from worrying about wasting or preserving your celery.

                      1. I use freeze dried celery instead of fresh if I don't need a bunch. It's good in soups , salads or whatever.

                        1. I grow celery in my northern Illinois garden. I have found that iI can cut it into 1" chunks, (leaves and all), do a quick saute of the chunks, freeze on a pan,(IQF'em) then dump in a freezer bag, They are great for anything you want to cook them in.

                          1. Would you be able to puree the celery, after sauteeing it in olive oil, butter, garlic, and maybe onions and parsley. Then freeze that puree, use it as you need it in soups and sauces. Just take a spoonful out when you need it. Cubes don't work for me, I always need more!

                            For some soups, I'll cut the celery up very tiny purposely, mainly because I don't wish major chunks. After my last trip to the grocery store, I'd be willing to try this, just to say on anything and everything I can. I don't want to throw anything out if I don't have to....