How to can Celery

By Charlotte King

Although it might not be the first vegetable that comes to mind for canning, many people do can celery, for various purposes. It is important to ensure you take the right approach to canning celery, in order to ensure the freshest taste when you do consume it, and to extend the lifespan for consumption as far into the future as possible, if you do not plan on consuming it immediately after canning. So, depending on how you plan on canning celery, these are a few variables to keep in mind, to ensure the process is done properly, and to ensure the freshest taste when you do eat it.

Canning Celery on its Own

The first method we’ll cover is for canning celery on its own, as the primary dish, rather than as an ingredient in a main dish. This process is fairly similar to that of canning other vegetables or foods you’ve canned in the past. The best approach here is to

  • Freeze
  • Dehydrate/roast

There are no set guidelines in place for canning celery on its own. Therefore, the duration at which it can be kept, and safely consumed, isn’t entirely known. However, if you freeze it, you’d simply cut the celery into smaller cubes and place it in a ziploc bag or airtight container. With dehydrating, you can use a dehydrator or oven, set to about 150 degrees F, to allow the celery to roast. Once dried, you can store it in a canning jar.

Again, since there are no set guidelines in place regarding the amount of time that you can safely keep canned celery and consume it, an alternative approach (listed below), might be the best way to go about the canning process.

Pressure Canning Celery as an Ingredient

Soups, pastas, sauces; these are a few of the many dishes where you might use celery as an ingredient. If you choose to can these dishes, how do you do so safely and how long can you preserve them? Once your dish is prepared, you’d want to place it in a canning jar and seal it. Similarly to other foods you prepare for canning, the jar should be sanitized as should the lid, to ensure they’re safe for preserving foods.

With most sauces, broths, and soups, you can safely freeze and preserve these dishes for six months to one year safely. The ingredients that are in the dish might increase/decrease that time, so make sure you consider all added ingredients, to determine how long to store these foods. With the canning process, you’re going to want to place the dish you’ve prepared into the jar when it is still warm. This will help with the sealing process, and help the jar pop when you do place the lid over it to seal.

Once opened, you should place the dish in the refrigerator, and consume it within one week (again, this might be shorter or longer depending on the other ingredients that are in the frozen soup or pasta dish you made).

Pressure Canning Celery as a Powder

When canning celery as a powder, you’ll begin with preparing the celery so you can mash it down into a powder. You’ll want to wash the celery stalks and let them dry completely. This is a vegetable which takes quite some time to dry, so don’t speed up the process (let it sit for at least 1-hour after you wash it). Once washed, cut the celery down into shorter stalks or cubes, around 1 to 2 inches in size.

Once cut, you’ll want to place the celery in a dehydrator or the oven to prepare it. Place the cubes onto a wire rack evenly, and set the dehydrator or oven to about 125 degrees F. Let the celery remain in the oven for a minimum of 10 hours, up to 12 hours if possible. When dry, the celery should snap apart into tiny pieces, so you won’t have to cut it down to size much before grinding it. You should allow the celery to cool down before grinding it down to a powder. Let it sit until it’s at room temperature. At this point, you’ll use a grinder, masher, or allow the celery chips to run through a food processor, so you can grind it down into a fine (or coarse) powder.

How long will the celery powder last when canned? It’s quite similar to any powder or seasoning. This has a very long shelf life, and is going to remain fresh for up to 2 years if it is in the proper temperature. Make sure you keep it in a cool, dry place (your spice rack ideally), as this will help extend the lifespan of your celery.

Canning Celery in the Form of Preserves or Jam/Jelly

Celery is an ingredient used in chutney, spreads, and different jam recipes. Although it typically isn’t made into a jam or spread on its own, it is possible, and would be made similarly to other jams or spreads you’ve made in the past. Because it’s often used as an ingredient in preserves or spreads which are highly acidic, the shelf life of these foods is usually quite long.

When canning, make sure you leave proper headspace of about 1 to 1.5 inches from the lid to the celery spread or jam. You’ll also want to make sure that the can seals or pops, before you do put it away for storage. If you place it in the refrigerator, depending on the other ingredients in your spread, you can safely preserve it for up to 6 months with most spreads. If it is placed in a cabinet, to be used at a later time, this can possibly extend out 8 to 10 months. Additionally, if you include other preservatives or ingredients with the celery, the time you can safely can it and store it might increase or decrease accordingly.

Regardless of the method chosen, make sure you safely can your celery in clean, sterilized jars. Also make sure you afford sufficient headspace to ensure the cans properly seal/pop, to ensure freshness and maintain the longest shelf-stable life possible.

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