Question: If you aren’t supposed to keep celery in the plastic bag it came in, how are you supposed to store it?
Answer: For the best results, keep celery heads whole, wrap them up tightly in aluminum foil, and then keep them in the refrigerator crisper drawer as usual. When stored this way, celery stalks can maintain their freshness anywhere from two to four weeks.
The plastic bag your celery came in traps in the ethylene it produces, which hastens its vegetal demise. From the kitchn we learned that Cook’s Illustrated found that aluminum foil was the best storage solution; it allows the gas to escape, so your celery will stay fresh longer.
The trick, though, is to wrap the aluminum foil tightly enough that a ton of moisture doesn’t get out (keeping the celery heads whole also helps with this), but not so tightly that the ethylene can’t escape (just make sure not to crimp or seal the edges).
Aluminum foil isn’t the most eco-friendly way to store produce, but it might be worth it in the name of preventing food waste. Plus, the aluminum foil could be reused multiple times to store a few rounds of celery if you’re carefully wrapping and unwrapping it. Then, once it starts to shred too much for wrapping celery, you can either recycle it or put it to use elsewhere, like cleaning your grill for winter storage.
Watch: How to Make Miso-y Charred Carrot Soup
If you’re the type of person that likes to cut celery stalks up ahead of time for easy snacking access, you might be tempted to store them in water. Resist the urge to carry on your grandmother’s tradition (only this one, the rest are fair game). Cook’s Illustrated says that you can “prep celery (and carrot) sticks up to two days ahead; there’s no need to store them in water. After that, they’ll begin to very slowly deteriorate, whether stored dry or wet.”
And if you do end up with limp celery stalks, don’t despair—there are more than a few tasty ways to use it, from roasting it for a creamy-buttery soup to whipping up a celery-scented syrup for an ultra-refreshing homemade soda (or cocktail).
A Few Crisp, Fresh Celery Recipes to Cook This Week
This raw celery salad is all about the texture, from the delicate crunch of the paper-thin shaved stalks to the soft sautéed mushrooms.
If you love tabouli (and even if you think you don’t), this hearty, flavor-packed version with za’atar, bulgur, celery, and feta will be your new favorite.
An umami-rich marinade, chicken and tofu combo, and crunchy celeries and cashews all team up for the ultimate weeknight dinner.
This salad earned nothing but rave reviews when it hit our test kitchen last year, and it the community agrees, with one reviewer writing: “I made this last night and it was delicious! Even if you are not a fan of capers and anchovies (I definitely am!), you will like this.”
An A+ side dish for all manner of griled meats, this new potato salad with lots of crispy raw vegetables was made for warm weather.
What food storage solutions do you swear by? Tell us in the comments below!
This article originally ran in November 2015, and was updated by the Food52 editors in April 2020.