Celery is one of those things that can sit in the fridge for seemingly ever, waiting for that next homemade soup or Waldorf salad to wisp into your meal plan.
That is of course unless you juice it. Then it disappears quickly.
It's super nutritious and provides great flavor to many classic and modern recipes, making it an excellent vegetable to keep on hand.
But how long IS celery good for in the fridge?
How long does celery last?
Raw celery, on average, is good for 3-4 weeks in the fridge when Raw. That all assumes 3-4 weeks after the purchase date, so if you grow and harvest it yourself, it might last a little longer.
Once cooked, it's good for about a week.
And if you buy it prepackaged in little tubs at the market, those usually only last a few days.
The best celery to buy?
The best bang for your buck is the whole head/stalk. If possible, buy organic because celery is one of the crops with highest pesticide use.
How do you know if it's off?
When celery goes bad, it goes limp and soft. You might even notice a faint white coloring on it. People tend to refer to this as becoming hallow.
You definitely won’t notice the typical snap you expect when breaking the ribs.
Can you Eat limp Celery?
Yes! Limp celery is fine to eat as long as it's not showing other sings of spoilage, such as whitened color or foul smell.
It's sensitive to cold and can go limp if stored in too cold of temperatures, like in the bottom drawer of the fridge that's closest to the freezer.
Limp celery will have lost its crispy crunch. For that reason, avoid using the softer ribs in things like crudite where you want the vegetable to sturdily hold dipping sauce and to feel that crunch with each bite.
Even if slightly limp, celery is great for soups, stews, curries and bone broths. Here are a few recipe ideas for limp, but still good, celery:
- Cream of Celery Soup
- Added flavor in Bone Broth
- Curries like this one or this one
- Cabbage Rolls
- Pumpkin Red Chili
- Goose Stew
- White bean green chili
- Shepard's Pie
So how to keep celery the longest?
Store it in a hydrated place with airflow. The two most common reasons celery goes bad are that it dehydrates or it lets out too much ethylene.
If you’re a constant celery user (and you should be) then these celery keepers are great. We had the vintage ones growing up and they were great. They make sure the celery stays hydrated but not soggy and has plenty of airflow.
You could, alternatively, store it in a bag or foil with a moist paper towel. You can usually get by with just a paper towel or the celery keeper, and save a little plastic and foil.
What if it's (almost) too late?
Sometimes life just gets ahead of us and we forget to put the damp paper in the vegetable drawer for better preservation. Or we go out to eat and don't use it up as planned.
A few good ideas on what to do with your aging celery:
- If you really crave fresh celery, soak the stalks in some ice water. They should crispen up
- Use it for a broth! It provides excellent flavor and is good for any meat or vegetable broth.
- Juice it - celery juice is a great way to get a big dose of gut-healing mineral salts.
- Dice and freeze for a future roux, curry, stir-fry or soup. In the freezer, it'll keep nearly 8 months. However, it will be devoid of structure at that point and is best for cooking, not juicing or fresh snacking.
- Try regrowing it by placing the bottom nub of the stalk in water to sprout and then transitioning to soil
What is the Difference between a Head, Stalk, and Rib?
A head of celery or the bundle you would buy at the store is technically a stalk. Each individual stick is a rib.
In other words, what you commonly purchase at the store is a stalk and it has about 15 ribs on it.
Recap: How Long Does Celery Last?
- 3-4 weeks after the purchase date if stored in the fridge
- 1 week after cooking
- A few days if purchased pre-chopped and pre-packaged.