Keep celery crunchy and fresh with this easy storage advice.
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While typically found on crudité platters or as a garnish for a Bloody Mary, celery's true potential often goes unrecognized. From Radish, Celery & Cucumber Salad to Cream of Celery Soup, celery can be used in numerous tasty recipes. Learn how to store celery in the fridge, including cut celery and whole stalks. Plus, get tips on what to look for when buying celery.

Celery on a cutting board
Credit: Helen Norman

What to Look for When Buying Celery

There are two types of celery—the pale green 'Pascal' head or bunch celery that is most familiar and the slender, stronger-flavored Chinese celery. Both the stalks and the aromatic, flavorful leaves of regular celery are edible. The celery heart refers to the inner ribs of the bunch. The heart is more tender than the outer stalks, with fewer tough strings.

When buying celery stalks, choose tight, firm bunches with fresh, healthy-looking leaves. The stalks should be straight and rigid and should snap when bent. Avoid stalks that splay out or have cuts or bruises.

How to Store Celery Stalks

While most celery stalks bought from the grocery store come wrapped in plastic, that plastic can actually make celery deteriorate at a quicker rate. That's because ethylene, a hormone produced by plants that causes ripening, cannot escape and will cause your celery to spoil. 

Instead, wrap celery stalks in foil and place in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. This method for storing ensures that the celery doesn't lose moisture, which is what causes it to turn limp, while also allowing the ethylene to escape. When stored this way, celery stalks can last up to two weeks.

How to Store Cut Celery

It's best to keep celery whole until the moment you plan to eat it or cook it, as the whole stalks will retain water better than cut pieces. However, if you find yourself with leftover cut celery from a recipe or are looking to prep ahead of time, store the celery in an airtight container (like this one from Rubbermaid, buy it: Target, $11) and use within a few days for optimal freshness.

These two storage methods are the best way to keep your celery crisp and fresh. However, because celery is 95% water, it can rapidly dehydrate even when you store it properly. Luckily, you don't have to throw out the limp, rubbery stalks. Instead, bring celery back to its firm state by trimming both ends of each stalk and soaking it in ice-cold water in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the celery to crisp up. 

Once you're ready to enjoy your celery, the recipes are endless, from our twist on the classic snack with Fire Ants on a Log or our easy, flavorful Curried Celery & Cashew Stir-Fry.