As a popular and nutritious vegetable, celery can be a great addition to many meals. However, if not stored properly, it can quickly go bad, making it unappetizing and wasteful. In this post, we will discuss the factors that influence the shelf life of celery and how to store it to extend its shelf life. We will also provide tips on how to use up celery before it goes bad.
Factors that Influence the Shelf Life of Celery
There are three main factors that can influence the shelf life of celery:
Celery should be stored at a temperature between 32°F to 36°F (0°C to 2.2°C). Storing it at a lower temperature will cause it to freeze, while storing it at a higher temperature will cause it to wilt and go bad more quickly.
Celery needs to be stored in a humid environment to maintain its freshness. If the air is too dry, the celery will dry out and go bad. Ideally, the humidity should be around 95%.
Airflow is also important when storing celery. Too much airflow will cause the celery to dry out, while too little airflow will cause it to become damp and rot. Celery should be stored in a place with moderate airflow.
How to Store Celery in the Fridge
When storing celery in the fridge, there are a few options to consider:
Storing Celery Unwashed
One option is to store celery unwashed. Simply wrap the celery in aluminum foil and place it in the vegetable crisper drawer of your fridge. The aluminum foil will help to maintain the humidity around the celery and keep it from drying out.
Another option is to wrap celery in a damp paper towel before placing it in the fridge. The damp paper towel will help to maintain the humidity around the celery and prevent it from drying out. Once wrapped, place the celery in a plastic bag and seal it shut.
Placing Celery in a Container
Lastly, you can place celery in a container filled with water. Simply cut the bottom of the celery stalks and place them in the container with water, like you would with fresh flowers. The water will help to maintain the humidity around the celery and prevent it from drying out. Cover the container with a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.
How Long Does Celery Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of celery can vary depending on a few factors:
Factors That Influence the Shelf Life of Celery
Some factors that can influence the shelf life of celery include:
- The freshness of the celery when purchased
- How it was stored before being purchased
- The temperature, humidity, and airflow when stored in the fridge
Average Shelf Life of Celery
On average, celery can last for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge if stored properly. However, it is important to note that once celery starts to wilt and become soft, it is a sign that it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
Tips to Extend the Shelf Life of Celery
Here are a few tips to extend the shelf life of celery:
- Store celery in the fridge at the proper temperature, humidity, and airflow
- Don’t wash celery until you are ready to use it
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil, a damp paper towel, or place it in a container with water
- Check the celery regularly for signs of spoilage and remove any stalks that have gone bad
How to Tell If Celery Has Gone Bad
Even with proper storage, celery can still go bad. Here are a few ways to tell if your celery has gone bad:
One of the easiest ways to tell if celery has gone bad is to look at it. If the stalks are limp, wilted, and have brown or black spots, it is a sign that the celery is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
Another way to tell if celery has gone bad is to smell it. Fresh celery has a slightly sweet and earthy smell. If the celery smells sour or rotten, it is a sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
You can also use the touch test to check if celery has gone bad. Fresh celery should be firm and crisp to the touch. If the stalks are soft and mushy, it is a sign that the celery is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
Tips for Using Celery Before It Goes Bad
If you have celery that is starting to wilt and become soft, there are still ways to use it up before it goes bad:
Creative Recipes to Use Up Celery
Here are a few creative recipes to use up celery:
- Celery juice
- Celery soup
- Celery slaw
- Celery stir-fry
- Celery and peanut butter snacks
If you can’t use up your celery before it goes bad, you can freeze it for later use. Simply chop the celery into small pieces, blanch it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, and then cool it in ice water. Once cooled, drain the celery and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen celery can be used in soups, stews, and casseroles.
Final Tips for Extending the Shelf Life of Celery
Here are a few final tips for extending the shelf life of celery:
- Buy fresh celery from a reputable source
- Store celery away from other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, which can cause celery to spoil faster
- Don’t store celery near the door of the fridge, as the temperature fluctuates more in that area
- Use a food storage container with a lid to keep celery fresh and prevent it from drying out
By following these tips, you can enjoy fresh and delicious celery for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Whether you use celery in soups, salads, snacks, or juices, it is a versatile vegetable that can add flavor and nutrition to any meal.
So the next time you buy celery, remember to store it properly and use it up before it goes bad. Your taste buds and your body will thank you for it!