Freezing celery is a simple way to reduce food waste in the kitchen. With a little effort, you can have frozen celery ready to add to your favorite recipes. Follow these easy steps to freeze celery.
Can you freeze celery?
Celery isn’t something I use regularly in the kitchen. We enjoy a few ribs here and there in salads, soups, stir-fry, and in bread stuffing on Thanksgiving, but it isn’t often I use up a whole bunch at once.
Instead, I cut it up and freeze the extra. That way I can easily grab a handful of frozen celery when needed and add it to soups, stews, and stir-fries.
Do you have to blanch celery before freezing?
When you blanch food, you partially cook it in boiling water for a brief time, and then plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Blanching helps slow the enzymes that cause lost flavor, color, and texture. It also washes off any bacteria that might be on the surface of the celery.
If you plan on using your celery in less than 3 months, you don’t need to blanch it at all. Just be sure to rinse it very well before freezing and cook before eating.
If you want celery to last longer in the freezer, go ahead and blanch it before freezing. Properly blanched, packaged, and frozen celery will maintain a higher quality for approximately 12 months.
Steps to Freezing Celery
Nothing goes to waste in the kitchen when you make the effort to freeze celery for later. Celery does lose most of its crispness when frozen, but it can be used in simmering soups, stews, stir-fries, and other cooked recipes just as you would fresh celery.
Choose fresh, crisp stalks of celery to freeze for the best results. If your celery is a little limp, cut the bottom off the celery, and place the stalks in water to re-hydrate for a couple of hours before processing.
You’ll find a printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are the illustrated steps to freeze celery:
Step 1: Gather your equipment
Simple kitchen equipment is all you’ll need to freeze celery:
- Large pot of water
- Colander or mesh strainer
- Large bowl of ice water
- Cutting Board
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper
- Zipper type freezer bags
- Kitchen towels
Step 2: Clean the celery well
Rinse each bunch of celery well under clean running water. Pull off the celery stalks and rub your thumbs along the ribs to remove any soil and residue.
Step 3: Prepare the celery
Trim off the white sections off of the bottom of each stalk. If your celery is stringy, you can use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the threads.
Trim the tops of the celery and chop the ribs into the shapes you will use in your recipes. You can freeze celery in any shape, including, chunks, cubes, or half-moon slices. Larger pieces can always be chopped further while frozen if necessary.
Save the celery leaves, small ribs, and trimmings to use in making vegetable or chicken stock.
Step 4: Blanch the celery
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Lower the chopped celery into the boiling water and boil for 3-minutes.
Remove the celery and plunge into the bowl of ice water to cool for about 5 minutes. Once the celery has cooled, scoop it out, drain, and dry on a clean kitchen towel. Use a towel to pat dry and remove excess moisture before freezing.
Step 5: Flash freeze the celery
Flash freezing the celery before storing in freezer bags will help prevent the pieces from sticking together and allow you to grab a handful when needed.
To pre-freeze your blanched celery, layer your baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the celery pieces out on the sheets so they are not touching. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the celery is frozen solid, about 1 to 2-hours.
Step 6: Package the frozen celery into freezer bags
Place the frozen celery into freezer bags, remove the air, and seal the bag. Label, date, and store the frozen celery in the freezer until you are ready to use in your favorite recipes. Use within 10-12 months.
Use frozen celery in cooked dishes such as casseroles, soups, stews, stuffing, and stir-fries. Don’t thaw before using. Simply add it to the pot right from the freezer and cook according to your recipe.
How to Freeze Celery
- 1 bunch Celery
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- As the pot is heating, prepare your celery by separating the ribs and rinsing well under clean running water to remove all dirt.
- Trim the white sections off of the bottom of each stalk and remove strings, if needed.
- Cut the ribs into chunks, cubes, or slices. Save the ends, leaves, and small ribs to use in making chicken or vegetable stock.
- Once the water is boiling vigorously, lower the prepared celery pieces into the pot and boil for 3-minutes.
- Remove the blanched celery and plunge into the bowl of ice water to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Once the celery has cooled, remove and place on a clean kitchen towel to absorb extra moisture.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and arrange the celery pieces on the trays so they are not overlapping.
- Place the baking sheets in the freezer and freeze until the celery is solid, about 1 to 2-hours.
- Transfer the frozen celery to freezer bags, squeeze to remove air, and seal the bag. Label, date, and store the frozen celery in the freezer until ready to use in your favorite recipes. Use within 10-12 months.
- How to Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash
- How to Freeze Peppers
- How to Freeze Potato French Fries
- How to Grow Celery from Seed
Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden
Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.
I was thrilled when I found your “recipe”. For some mysterious reason I opened my produce drawer yesterday and discovered I had 3..yes 3!! bunches of celery. It seems that my husband picked it up for me, my daughter did the same and last but not least I picked it up myself. I like to use celery in my soups and salads but I’m afraid I would have wasted an awful lot.
Tomorrow after doing my gardening I will be busy freezing my over abundance of celery, thanks to you!!
©Rachel Arsenault says
Beverly, So glad I could help. I never seem to use up a whole bunch at once, I can’t imagine being faced with three. LOL!
Saundra J Dern says
I used your instructions and prepared two stalks and froze. I have always wrapped my celery in foil which really extends the life but there are times even that goes bad. My daughter is always “borrowing” some celery as she lives across the street from me so I should have enough for both our needs now. I froze in larger pieces to chop to needed size when needed. I hate having to but an entire stalk when all I need at the time is a rib or two. Thank you for posting!!
©Rachel Arsenault says
Sandra, Thank you, I am glad this helped!
Marianne McKittrickGrant says
Thank you for your recipe. I have never used an entire bunch of celery. From now on I will freeze the unused stalks.
Cathy Harmon says
Thanks so much for this tip; It never occurred to me that I could freeze celery. This will cut a lot of waste as I seldom use a whole bunch.
Jean at Jean's Garden says
Rachel, Thanks for this tip! I will never again end up throwing out celery because I bought a whole bunch but only needed 2 stalks.
©Rachel Arsenault says
Jean, It is so nice to hear from you! I hope you are well! I am glad this tip helps.