Celery can be a great addition to many dishes, but it’s not always available year-round. Or maybe you have an excess influx of celery in your household, and you know you won’t be able to get around to using it all before it starts to go bad so this creates a very common question in our minds which is “Can you Freeze Celery?”. Freezing celery is an easy way to preserve this healthy vegetable to make sure you have it on hand any time of the year!
This blog post will show you how to freeze celery so that you can enjoy its crisp, clean flavour all year long! The steps to freezing celery are straightforward: clean the celery, cut it into small chunks that can freeze quickly, blanch, flash-freeze, and move to long-term storage! Read on for the detailed steps and some additional valuable tips!
How to Freeze Celery
Celery has one of the simplest freezing processes. It not only holds all nutrients intact but also makes it very convenient to use. If you want to enjoy the celery raw in a salad or something similar, it’s best to use the fresh version. Frozen celery is a good idea only when used in cooked dishes. Frozen celery is especially excellent when making soups, stews, casseroles, or any hot dish.
The very first step in freezing celery is to clean it. Separate the stalks from the bunch. Separate as many or as few you need. The base of the stalks might have dirt streaks on it, so run the stalks under some running water and rub using your fingers to clean them.
Trim the base and woody tops from all your stalks and pat them dry using paper towels. Using your chef’s knife, cut your stalks into ½ inch or 1-inch sections as per your preference.
While preparing your celery, you can put a pot of water on the stovetop and let it come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add your celery chunks to it for blanching. Allow the celery chunks to blanch in the water for 2 – 3 minutes before scooping them out and into an ice water bath. The blanching step is optional but recommended as it helps preserve the crispness, flavour, and colour of celery.
Drain the blanched celery onto some paper towels to soak up the excess water. The next step is to flash freeze the celery. For this, line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread your celery pieces in a single layer on it, and freeze for 2 – 3 hours at least.
At this stage, you will have celery chunks that are frozen solid and are ready to be moved into long-term storage. When freezing any kind of product, it’s always recommended to use freezer-safe containers. These containers help in stopping the oxidation process and, thus, in preserving the product for longer. Transfer the frozen celery to the freezer containers leaving about 1-inch headspace.
Label and date your containers and stack them in your freezer. Frozen celery can last up to 12 – 18 months when frozen this way.
Can You Freeze Celery Without Blanching?
Blanching is an optional step when freezing celery. But, there are definitely some benefits to blanching the celery before freezing. Blanching increases the shelf life of celery and enhances the flavour that most times gets lost when frozen without freezing. Another benefit of freezing after blanching is that it helps in preserving the vibrant green colour of celery.
However, if you wish to freeze celery without blanching it, you can use the same procedure described above; just skip the blanching step. Remember to use celery that is frozen without blanching within two months of its freezing date.
If you plan on freezing celery using both of the methods, always mention the approach you have used on the freezer container along with its freezing date so that you can use the product in a timely and safe manner.
How to Freeze Celery Leaves
Did you know that you can actually freeze celery leaves and use them in your soups and stalks as well! There are two approaches you can use for freezing celery leaves. Whichever method you choose, you must start by first washing the leaves in plenty of water to get rid of any dirt that may be present on them. Once cleaned, dry the leaves completely before you freeze them because the excess moisture will cause the leaves to rot.
For freezing the celery leaves whole, layer the leaves on top of one another and gently roll them into a spiral. Tuck the spiral into a freezer bag, taking care that it does not unroll as you are packing it. Squeeze out as much air from the freezer bag before you seal and freeze it.
In this method, it’s best to freeze the chopped pieces on a parchment paper-lined baking tray for an hour before transferring them to a freezer bag. When transferring the leaves from the tray to the bags, it’s essential to move quickly as the leaves will begin thawing as soon as you remove them from the freezer.
- Choose fresh celery stalks with no blemishes and yellow spots. Wash them thoroughly with cold water. Cut the leaves off at the bottom of the stem if they appear wilted or dry.
- Freeze celery before it becomes wilted and limp, as fresh as possible because the quality will suffer as it ages.
- If you are not planning on freezing or using the celery immediately after buying, store the celery in a paper bag or wrap the bottom of the bunch with a plastic bag to keep moisture from collecting and causing rot.
Celery is an excellent vegetable with several health benefits. It contains folic acids, calcium, vitamin K, and potassium, making it an ideal vegetable to always have on hand. Give this guide a try to freeze your celery and celery leaves and elevate your soups, sauces, and casseroles!. You can also check out the canning celery guide to get the best out of your celeries