How to Freeze Celery So It Lasts Up to a Year
Even the most resourceful cooks occasionally find themselves staring down a crisper drawer full of surplus vegetables and wondering how to proceed. Take celery, for example: Can you freeze celery stalks? If so, how? And what will you do with all that frozen celery down the road?
To extend the life of your vegetables, and give your future self the gift of beautifully preserved produce, follow this step-by-step guide to freezing celery.
How to Freeze Cooked Celery
The best way to freeze celery is to first blanch it in boiling water. This fussy-sounding step preserves the vegetable’s color and flavor and prolongs its lifespan: Blanched celery can last up to a year in the freezer.
First, clean and trim the celery you want to freeze. Then cut the stalks into whatever size pieces you think you’ll want to use later (the exception would be a tiny brunoise, which would too easily slip through a slotted spoon).
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath, or a large bowl of water three-quarters full of ice cubes and cold water.
Once the water boils, add your trimmed celery and cook for two to three minutes. Then, remove the celery from the water with tongs or a slotted spoon and plunge it momentarily into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain your blanched celery pieces and dry completely, and then spread them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze the sheet for one to two hours, or until your celery pieces feel hard, and then tug the celery free to pack into airtight bags and store in the freezer for up to one year.
Can You Freeze Raw Celery?
While a quick blanch before freezing will do your celery a world of good, you can absolutely freeze raw celery.
First, separate your stalks, wash and dry them completely, and then trim or cut them into the shape or length you think you might prefer when you go to use them later. Spread those celery pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and slide it into the freezer. After an hour or two, you can pop the celery off the sheet and into a freezer bag, taking care to squeeze out as much air as possible before you seal it. Those frozen celery segments will keep one to two months.
How to Thaw Frozen Celery
How to Use Frozen Celery in Recipes
Since freezing changes its texture, frozen celery is best used in dishes where it’s cooked or blended. Put your frozen cooked celery or frozen raw celery to work in recipes like the following:
- Vegetable stock, a great use for an array of frozen vegetables.
- This hearty slow-cooker celery soup with bacon.
- Cream of tomato soup, a perennial crowd-pleaser.
- She-crab soup, a low-country favorite.
- A zesty vegetarian lemon-potato soup.
- This spicy, savory sangrita from Mayahuel, a now-shuttered NYC cocktail bar.