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Jan 5, 2014 12:24 PM

Celery half-portions for small households.

How do grocers / produce packagers decide on products? I use celery only when making a new recipe that calls for it, typically needing 1 - 3 stalks. I'd really like to be able to buy a half portion of it, for half the price of a full 10-stalk package - i.e., under a dollar. When I get celery, I like having the leafy parts, including the small paler inner stalks for use in sauces/soups/garnish. My grocery stores often sell cut squash half or cut melon halves - why not a celery half?

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  1. IME the entire bundle is fairly cheap and lasts a good long while. I've had a bag of two celery hearts and it's still good 3 weeks later. Some stores sell precut stalks in water or diced celery in tubs but then you pay a higher premium.

    1. I learned this from fellow Chowhounds - and it works beautifully - wrap the whole bunch of celery tightly in aluminum foil - it keeps for a long time. Sorry, I can't help you with buying the smaller portion, but what you buy won't mostly end up in the trash.

      7 Replies
      1. re: jacquelyncoffey

        I'm not a celery fan, so a bunch lasts longer than I'd wish! I also do the tightly-wrapped-foil trick.

        Sometimes, though, I'll go to the salad bar/chopped veg area of my store & just buy small amts of chopped celery.

        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

          Interesting tip. I should try that to see if it helps, as I often find wilting celery in the fridge.

          Does this help with other produce too?

          1. re: vil

            If it is just wilting, cut off an end and place in a cup of ice water, it will crisp up again in no time. Also don't toss, save and freeze in you scraps bag for stock in the freezer.

            1. re: melpy

              I've never foil-wrapped and have my doubts that the foil is essential, because just putting it in a sealed plastic bag keeps it well for a couple of weeks, especially if you include a damp paper towel. After that, cutting off the bottoms and standing them in a container with a little water in the bottom, changed every few days, trimming ends now and then, will keep it going another few weeks. If the "vase" has no lid, cover with plastic wrap/bag snugged to the container exterior with a rubber band.

              Remember that exhaling into an almost-sealed bag of produce through a straw, then crimping the straw as you withdraw it and complete the seal will up the carbon dioxide, which will make the produce last better.

              1. re: greygarious

                The foil wrapping is all you need and the celery will last a lot longer than a couple of weeks. That's all you need to do, no trimming, no damp paper towels, vases etc.

              2. re: melpy

                Actually my celery tends to wilt (turn limp) and rot (turn into a funky texture and colour) at the same time...

                1. re: vil

                  I also keep mine in a celery keeper Tupperware that I inherited from my mother's kitchen.

          2. Some supermarkets in my area do offer loose, leafless celery stalks in addition to packaged bunches, but for what works out to a higher price per pound. They seem to be in areas where a high proportion of the customers are elderly.

            You can freeze celery that you will be using for stock-and- soup-making. It's limp when thawed, of course, but that makes no difference when it's going to be fully cooked, or discarded.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              A local store does carry single stalks, but for the price of two, I can get a whole bunch at Aldie's. For the price of three, I can get the whole bunch at that grocer.

              I tend to use it up in soups.

              1. re: Clams047

                If I find I have a glut, I stuff sticks with cream cheese mixed with green olive, a bit of olive juice, and onion powder. Very 1970's and fattening, but so good. I'll have them for dinner.

            2. The good thing about celery is it'll keep a month or two in your fridge as long as you keep it dry and in the whole bunch (if it gets wet it rots, and cut ends dry up)... I rarely use it and only buy it three or four times a year, but we usually have some around.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kajikit

                Ditto this- keep it dry and it lasts a while. I wrap the stalks in a paper towel (to absorb any moisture), then keep it in a sealed zip top bag. The celery in my fridge is about one month old and is still very crisp.

              2. I've always wondered this. I've NEVER in my life been able to use up a whole bunch of celery and I feel awful tossing it. I'd actually still pay full-price (a dollar) for half the product.

                Will have to try some of the tips listed here regarding the foil.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nothingswrong

                  What about making a big pot of soup with whatever veggie leftovers you have? I do that every couple of weeks and it is economical.