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Celery in soup

This weekend I made cream of mushroom soup with barley and the recipe called for 2 stalks of celery. Two stalks? What am I supposed to do with the rest of the celery? Although a bag of celery is only a dollar or less, I hate to waste all those celery. So I omitted the celery in my cream of mushroom.

There are lots of soup/stew recipes that call for a couple stalks of celery and I usually skip this ingredient because I don't want limpy celery sitting in my fridge. Any ideas on what can be substitute for celery?

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  1. Some supermarkets will sell celery by the stalk. Alternatively, you could take the rest of the bunch and braise it as a side vegetable. Google this and you'll find a pile of recipes. My wife likes to do a mixed braise of celery and fennel root.

    1. Both celery seed and celery salt (which is half seed and half salt) taste like celery. Also, you can freeze celery. Chop it into whatever size pieces you think you'll use in a dish later. Bring water in a pot to a boil, dump in the celery for 3 minutes. Drain, run some cold water over it to stop the cooking right away. The celery is now blanched and can be frozen. It will NOT be crispy like raw celery, but it is fine in soups, poultry stuffing, etc.

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      1. re: blue room

        Dried celery leaves are also available in the spice aisle and are, IMO, a better choice if the use id soup. They disintegrate completely whereas celery seed may still be visible, and I use very little salt so I would not want to try to figure out how much celery salt I'd need to mimic the effect of straight celery.

        Celery itself is surprisingly high in sodium, which is why, as posted downthread, it counteracts the acid taste of tomatoes. Salt enhances sweetness.

        If you are only planning on using celery for soups/stews where you don't care about texture, the blanching step is unnecessary. I just chop and freeze any celery, along with leaves, that is around long enough to get soggy even though I cut off the root end and refrigerate it in a lidded "vase" with an inch of water. I used to hate eating raw celery but have come to appreciate it. It is healthy, and satisfies the urge to eat something with crunch. Don't know if it's true, but I have often heard that more calories are expended in eating celery than are contained in it.

      2. I'd also go with braising if you want to use the celery up. A little chicken stock and braise away. Here ya go:
        http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

        1. I don't necessarily hate the taste of celery, but I find that for soups with celery added -- the whole soup tastes like celery to me. So I leave it out altogether.

          1. A great trick I learned here on this board is to wrap the unused celery (unwashed, also), in foil and put in in your refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks without rotting. And it stays pretty crisp, as well.

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            1. re: critter101

              I do this too, and it works pretty well.

              Another tip- if you're dicing the celery for one specific soup, dice a few more stalks and store it in a ziplock or tupperware in the freezer. If you need celery for another soup, just pull out the frozen bag and measure out what you need.