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Can You Freeze Celery Leaves? – The Best Way

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Celery seems to come either in huge, inexpensive bunches, or tiny, pricier single stalks.

The grocery stores want you to believe that they’re doing all the work for you by pulling off the leave so they charge more, but what they’re really doing is depriving you of fresh celery leaves that have so much to add to your recipes.

The next time you see a big bunch of celery, with leaves intact, go ahead and grab it. The leaves are delicious and nutritious.

But what if you can’t eat the whole bunch before it goes bad? Can you freeze celery leaves? Yes, you can freeze celery leaves. However, celery leaves have a lot of water, so they will break down when frozen. The nutrition and flavor will remain the same, but the crunch will disappear completely. The leaves will still be great to cook with but won’t be enjoyable eaten raw.

This article will cover all things celery, including freezing and using the delicate leaves.

Edible Parts of Celery

Almost everything about celery is edible, from the seeds to the root – called celeriac – to the stems, or stalks, and the leaves.

There are different kinds of celery, cultivated specifically for the different parts of the celery to be used.

While you can find bunches of celery with the leaves left on, many producers will grow celery designed for consuming the stalks separate to those grown specifically for the seeds and leaves. 

Celery leaves tend to be closer in flavor to wild celery, more potent and therefore perfect to flavor your recipes.

Celery Leaves Nutrition

Celery is a very popular “diet” food because it’s one of the closest natural foods to calorie-free that exist. Each stalk has approximately 10 calories and it gives a world of enjoyable crunch.

Just because it’s low-cal, however, does not mean it’s low-nutrition. In fact, celery is packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, vitamin A, C, and K and a variety of minerals, such as potassium and folate.

The leaves, specifically, are good sources of calcium. It also has a lot of water and, since Americans regularly lean toward dehydration, this is a great way to add a little more water to your life.

Celery is also a very powerful alkalizer, which is important, especially for anyone following a Standard American Diet (SAD).

Most pre-packed, fried or high-sugar foods are highly acidic and responsible for a lot of the digestive distress that’s commonplace in our modern world.

Snacking on some crisp celery with nut butter or cream cheese can help rebalance the pH in your body.

How to Freeze Celery Leaves

Celery leaves, along with the thin, light yellow bits of celery that don’t get eaten with the stalk, are remarkably easy to freeze.

You’re going to want to wash them well before freezing though, and make sure that they are completely dry.

You don’t want a single drop of water left hiding in the leaves because it will destroy the quality of your celery when it thaws.

You have two choices to freeze your leaves: whole or chopped up.

  1. If you’d prefer to freeze your leaves whole, gently twist and spiral them together once they’re completely dry so that they’re in a sort of tube or cigar shape.
    • Tuck them into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and make sure you get all the air out.
    • When you’re ready to use some of your leaves, if you don’t want to use all of them at once, simply chop off a segment of the tube and then put the rest back in the freezer as quickly as possible.
  2. If you chop up your leaves, you’ll want to freeze them individually first.
    • To do so, place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread your celery leaves out in a single layer.
    • Place the entire tray in your freezer for up to 1 hour to make sure everything is completely frozen.
    • After that, you can transfer them directly to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, but do it quickly because it doesn’t take long for the very thin leaves to start to thaw. 

How to Freeze Celery

To freeze the celery stalks, again you’ll want to carefully wash and dry each one thoroughly. Also, once again, you’ll have the choice of either to freeze them whole or chopped up.

Celery will not survive the freezer nice and crispy, so you’ll only be using your celery to cook with or to juice or blend into smoothies once it’s thawed. 

For pretty much all purposes, it’s going to be a lot easier to chop your celery when it’s fresh and crispy than it will be when it’s wimpy and soft after freezing.

Freeze all the individual pieces first, as detailed in step 2 above, and then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Y

ou can use a container with an airtight lid, but it’s much easier to get all the air out of a bag, and every tiny breath makes a difference.

How to Thaw Celery Leaves and/or Celery

Celery will thaw very quickly, but for the most part, you should be able to use it from frozen. If you’re making a smoothie or other blended recipe, you can add the celery frozen to your blender. 

If you’re going to be cooking with your celery, you can add it frozen to the pot, slow-cooker, casserole or any other dish that you’re creating. 

There’s not much to celery, so it will start to defrost within minutes of leaving the freezer. If you have a reason for letting it thaw before using it, just let it sit on a plate at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes and it will thaw completely.

How to Use Celery Leaves

The most common way to use celery leaves is either in soup or salad. Those are completely reasonable ways to use them, though after being frozen, they’re not likely to be very appealing in a salad.

Fresh celery leaves make a beautiful garnish and can swap out fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro in almost any recipe. They do have a different flavor, but that just adds variety to your life.

They also blend well into pesto, dips, and spreads, like hummus. If you make your own dressing, throw in some chopped up celery leaves!

If you’ve frozen the leaves, you’re going to want to cook with them. Soup, stew, stirfry, pasta dishes, and casseroles are all great ways to use your leaves. 

You can also juice them or add them to a smoothie for a tangy twist. 

How to Choose the Best Celery Leaves

When you’re shopping for celery, try to find bunches that have some nice, full dark leaves on the outer stalks. The darker the leaves, the tougher they will be, so you’ll want to save those for cooking and freeze if necessary. 

As you get closer to the center of your celery bunch, you’ll notice the leaves getting lighter in color and much more tender. These are the leaves that are best eaten fresh, as soon as possible.

They’re bright and fresh delicacies that too many people discard without a thought. 

Related Questions

Can you freeze celery juice?

Fresh is best, but yes, you can freeze celery juice quite well. In fact, if you can’t use your juice within 2 – 3 days at the most, freezing is the best way to preserve nutrition.

For best results, freeze your juice in single-serving Ziploc bags. Lay them completely flat in your freezer until their frozen solid, and then you can stand them up to save space.

How do you dry celery leaves?

Start by washing your celery leaves very well, and dry them thoroughly with a soft towel or paper towel.

If you have a dehydrator, simply lay out your leaves in a single layer and set your dehydrator according to the instructions for your machine. It will likely take about 5 – 6 hours at 135F for leaves to become nice and crisp.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can air dry celery leaves.

  • Wash and dry them well as previously suggested, and then lay them out in a single layer on a drying rack.
  • Place them in a dry area where they won’t be at risk of being tainted by either moisture or bugs.
  • Flip them over after 2 days.
  • After 4 or 5 days the celery leaves should be dry enough to crumble off the stem.
    • Do so but then leave the pieces spread out on the drying rack, covered with parchment paper if necessary, for another day or so before packing the final result into an airtight Ziploc bag or small container.

If they’re stored well in a cool dry location, your dried herbs should last up to a year, but they’ll be most potent for up to 6 months. After that, they may start to lose flavor.

Are celery leaves poisonous?

If you were to eat nothing but celery leaves for months on end, yes, they may eventually become toxic to your health.

But it would take extremely gross over-consumption for them to be even remotely dangerous unless you happen to have an allergy to sensitivity to it.

Even in those cases, its most likely to cause symptoms similar to a pollen allergy, which are annoying, but not generally dangerous on their own.

When eaten reasonably, there is nothing poisonous about any part of the celery, including the leaves.

Up Next: The Best Substitutes For Celery Seed

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