The Surprising Way You Should Be Storing Celery

November  5, 2015

Question: If you aren’t supposed to keep celery in the plastic bag it came in, where are you supposed to keep it?



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“Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.”

Oh wait, no: That’s where not to eat Green Eggs and Ham—sorry. You can definitely keep your celery in your house. Keep celery heads whole, wrap them up tightly in aluminum foil, and then keep them in the refrigerator crisper drawer as usual.

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. 


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.

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.”

What storage solutions do you have that would make your grandmother cringe (but work!)? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos by James Ransom

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I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


TimothyJongHyun September 25, 2019
I rinse the celery off with cold water, then shake off a lot of the excess. Then I store it in a 2 gallon zip lock type bag standing straight up with a rubber band around the top of the outer bag if its too tall to seal right away, on the fridge door with about 2 tablespoons of water in the bag. Celery for me will last almost a month or more.
Lisa August 17, 2016
I have used this method for years and it works really well. Usually get 3-4 uses from one piece of foil.
Jan C. July 28, 2016
After a few weeks in the fridge and celery is starting to get limp, I make a big batch of sautéed celery, carrots and onions for soup and freeze it in zip lock bags. This extends the life and makes quick soup prep on busy days.
judy March 11, 2016
I have been using Debbie Meyer Green Bags and Boxes for several years now. They do as advertised--keep my produce fresher longer. For some veggies a wrap in paper toweling before putting in the bag helps to absorb extra moisture. To save on paper towels I let them dry and reuse them if they are in good shape. As for the bags, if they get dirty I simply wash them by putting in a drop of dish soap and some water, swish around, rinse and leave to dry. Some of my bags are more than a year old. They also go to the grocery store with me. I put my produce in them directly. Then they ca go into the fridge, and I have not used produce bags from the store. Celery, and all the others keep longer. I can also delay ripening of fruit like tomatoes, avocados and bananas so that I can use them over a longer period of time, and have fewer trips to the store. The may be more expensive up front, but cheaper in the lang run. I use the large refrigerator boxes for big veggies like celery, carrots, peppers. I can mix them up, too as needed. Lettuces also store longer. Her white bread bags are also a good deal and do keep bread fresher longer. So that bread that you buy fresh-baked in a paper sleeve? Put it in a bread bag. Homemade bread? in a bread bag. Does an excellent job if wrapped double for freezing bread as well. So, I go through very little foil and no plastic wrap in my household. Another trick is vinyl bowl covers. The set I have now I have had for about 10 years. Almost time to replace as the elastic is wearing out. I get those at Vermont Country Store and have been considering that it is time for a new set. I use them for all kinds of things, like the pot of spaghetti sauce that I don't really want to put in a storage container at 11:00pm. Just pull a vinyl cover over and pop it in the fridge for tomorrow!
Katherine E. January 27, 2016
I have been doing this method for several years, much better than putting it in a water bath. Crunchy and last much longer.
Frosty's M. January 25, 2016
I have not tried this method, but I certainly will/ I have thinly sliced celery in SOO many foods I love, but if the celery is a goner or I'm out of it then I don't make the dishes. The way I have been storing my celery has been remarkably effective for me, so I'll share. I shave off the smallest layer (vegetable peeler, or sharp knife) from the base of the stalk after trimming any stalks or tops that I wouldn't want to eat. Those stalk, I save and make vegetable or chicken stock with (alone with other vegies). Then I place the bottom of the celery in a tall glass with about 1.5 inches of water and place on the top shelf next to the milk. That way I check the water level every day when I open the frig. That keeps my celery for a month or so, although I have usually eaten it all before that time has passed. Now I will try the foil!
Fran M. October 31, 2017
If I have forgot to put my celery in the glass with a little water and it’s limp, I just cut the bottom off about 1/8 inch and then place it in the glass with water. It totally revitalizes it.
Tom F. January 20, 2016
Have been storing our celery this way for about two years now, it really works.
Joanne D. December 19, 2015
Sounds like great tips for storing celery! I'd just like to mention that it's really important to wash celery very well if it's not organic. Celery is one of those foods that holds a lot of pesticide residue. Wash in tepid water with a drop of natural dishwashing liquid, then dry on a clean dish towel before storing :)
Donnasue November 22, 2015
I'm into recycling everything possible an I have a recycle can.I used things for things not intended.Like a have a old antique sloppy jar but I use it in my restroom for a toilet paper holder.That being said I have about 100Debbie meyer containers of 3 sizes an the bags.I put paper towel in the bottom of container.Celery doesn't ladt no time.Maybe too because I wash an cut to fit bowls.I'm going with paper towel an foil.I'm hate wasting food when people are dieing of starvation.Plus I don't have money to throw away.I love making chicken salad an it's no good without finely crisp celery.Thanks alot ????
Marsha November 11, 2015
I've been storing my celery in foil for years with good results. Recently, the celery was muddy. Yes; muddy. Not real bad, but bad enough that I had to wash it. It was dripping pretty bad to put in the foil, so I wrapped it in paper towels, then foil. This method kept the celery better and longer than just foil alone.
karmaya November 29, 2015
this is how i store celery also, damp paper towel, then foil, and then into the plastic bag, left open, that it came in just to hold it together. lasts a long time.
MHopson November 11, 2015
Tupperware's Fridgemates storage containers are the best way I've found. (I don't think they make them any more, but you can find them on eBay.) And maybe you shouldn't store it in water, but if it starts to go limp, putting the cut ends in cold water and putting it in the refrigerator will perk it back up.
Fred R. November 9, 2015
The cotton bags I mentioned work like paper toweling, except the bag keeps everything from escaping. I think I got my last two at our local Williams and Sonoma.
Sarah J. November 9, 2015
I just wrap mine in paper towel and put it in the crisper.
jeff November 9, 2015
Aluminum has been linked to some forms of dementia. I probably would neither suggest this nor us it myself. But thanks anyway.
Renee G. November 9, 2015
Don't eat it
butchie4ever November 9, 2015
actually, that is not true....
Kathryn W. December 23, 2015
There has never been any proof the foil contributed to dementia; a rumor started years ago, but it was never proven to be true.
reggia December 30, 2015
The concerns with foil are due to the aluminum which is mostly a problem when hot food (especially liquid) comes into contact with it. I'm not at all worried about storing cold food in aluminum.
MRubenzahl October 31, 2017
Aluminum is not a problem for cold or hot foods.
Sophie H. November 9, 2015
I put it in a jar or pot with a little bit of water , and keep on counter. It seems to keep fresh for ages.
Kathryn W. December 23, 2015
I agree. You can put that jar in the fridge if you have an area large enough to accommodate a tall jar with celery in it. I trim a little off the bottom of the bunch and put just a few inches of water in the jar. The trimming allows the stalk to absorb water and this will bring the limpest celery back to a nice crispness. I also try to buy celery with plenty of leaves because they are a great addition to salads and anything else you use celery in. I hate that they cut them away in the store.
Lea A. November 9, 2015
There are small packets that absorb ethylene. You leave produce unwrapped in the drawer. They're not toxic and last 3 months. You can get them at Whole Foods and Amazon. The brand I use is bluapple.
Annie November 9, 2015
Forget foil and go for a package of the reusable "green bags" such as the Debbie Meyers brand or other similar brands. They are amazing and last years of daily use and weekly washings. I store almost all fridge produce and bread in them and find my shelf lives extended by about two weeks per item.
Marsha November 11, 2015
As a user of green bags for years I agree with you, except when it comes to celery. Wrapping in moist paper towels then foil is the exception.
Kate November 28, 2015
Those Debbie Meyers bags did absolutely NOTHING for my produce. I ended up using them for kitchen trash/compostables in my sink, after MANY trials.
peajean November 9, 2015
I buy a pet food storage bin - it's just a plastic bin but comes with a seal and a hinged lid - to store my veggies in. Lay a paper towel down inside on the bottom and it's ready for the week's veggies. It soinds crazy but I swear by it!
John R. November 8, 2015
This whole article could have been condensed into one heading : "Trim your celery stalk and wrap in tin foil".
Katherine K. November 9, 2015
I'm not sure it should be trimmed even, the photo would indicate yes, but the text doesn't mention it.
BAE November 9, 2015
I believe the post says to keep them whole and wrap in foil.
Fred R. November 6, 2015
Foil is overkill and wasteful. Keep all veg in a thin cotton bag in the crisper. Excess water from washing soaks into the bag keeping everything aerated and fresh. Wash the bag maybe every three weeks.