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When you approach the produce section at the grocery store, you need to have a plan to get the freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious fruits and veggies. Watermelon with large sun spots will be sweeter, green avocados will ripen on your counter, and crisp lettuce won’t wilt as quickly.
What about celery, you say? There’s a hack for picking celery, too! Look for bright green stalks, and avoid any that have yellow or brown discoloration. The ribs should be firm and crisp, so pass on limp, bendy, or sad-looking celery. Tightly packed, heavy bunches of celery are good signs, while you’ll want to avoid celery that’s spread out. Once you’ve picked a good bunch, follow these tips on how to store celery so it stays fresher for longer.
How to Store Celery Stalks
Celery bought at the grocery store typically comes in a plastic bag for easy transport, but this isn’t the best way to store fresh celery. The leafy vegetable gives off ethylene gas, a chemical compound that causes it to ripen quicker. Keeping celery in the plastic bag it came in traps this gas, speeding up its inevitable expiration. So ditch the plastic bag, and wrap celery in aluminum foil instead. This also helps trap moisture, so the celery stays crunchy.
You can wrap the entire thing in aluminum foil and place it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. When wrapped too tightly, foil can still trap ethylene gas, so leave the ends open just a smidge so the celery can breathe. Stored this way, celery stalks can last for up to four weeks.
How to Store Cut Celery
A “stalk” of celery is the entire head, and a “rib” of celery is an individual piece. You can chop or dice celery ribs ahead of time to get a head start on your meal prep, though celery pieces won’t last as long as whole celery. Cut celery can last for up to two weeks in the fridge. If you know you’re going to use your celery soon, cut away and store it like this:
Cut celery into the desired shape and size.
Place celery pieces in an airtight container, and fill the container with enough water to submerge the celery.
Unlike whole celery, cut celery loses its moisture quickly. Without aluminum foil to trap moisture, you’ll need to submerge it in water to keep it hydrated. To maximize its freshness, change out the water frequently.
Can You Freeze Celery?
You can—and should—freeze celery you don’t plan on using right away. This saves money and cuts down on food waste.
For the best results when freezing celery, you’ll want to blanch it first. It’s a bit of an inconvenient first step, but it’s necessary for the best color and texture payoff later.
Start by cleaning, trimming, and cutting the celery.
To blanch celery, you’ll boil the pieces for 2-3 minutes before swiftly removing them and plunging them into an ice bath to rapidly stop the cooking process.
Remove the celery pieces from the ice water after they’ve cooled. Then, it’s time to freeze.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and transfer celery to a freezer bag or freezer-safe food storage container before placing it back in the freezer until you’re ready to cook with it.
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Read the original article on Real Simple.