How to Use Up Your Last Limp Stalks of Celery

February  8, 2016

It has been said that to have nothing is to have carrots. And it could easily be added that to have nothing is to have celery—a whole, limping head of it fading in the refrigerator, abandoned post-soffrito. But celery is an herbaceous, crunchy, vibrantly green asset to your fridge arsenal. Here are a few ideas for how not to lose your head:

One head of celery, one million possibilities. Photo by James Ransom
  • Shave the head up with apples or fennel (or both!) for a delicate, aromatic salad even in the dead of winter.
  • Highlight it in a risotto that uses both the stalks and the leaves.
  • Braise it into something you barely recognize by braising it (and adding pancetta).
  • Or smooth out its edges in a creamy, buttery celery soup.
  • Douse it in a smooth fennel sauce and bake for an unexpected gratin.
  • Use the leaves in an updated chicken salad, with grapes, of course.
  • Let it bring crunchiness to an all-season tabouli.
  • For the truest of celery lovers, purée it into a juice and turn it into a granita.
  • Or simply add a stalk or two to your morning green juice for a bright-green note.
  • A celery-scented simple syrup makes a base for a quick, spicy soda.
  • You likely don't need an excuse to make up a batch Bloody Marys, but if you do—well, a celery stick is the ideal garnish. (Pickled stalks are a good option, too.)
  • And no shame for classic ants-on-a-log, either. It might be the perfect (if not the quietest) cure for the hangries.

What are your best celery-finishing strategies? Share them in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MissChristina
  • 702551
  • Pamela Moore Berry
    Pamela Moore Berry
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


MissChristina February 9, 2016
You can also do a Chinese stir fry. Add shallots if you have it on hand. Some mushrooms too, if you have it. Season with salt. Most often, I just do a plain celery stir fry with salt.
702551 February 8, 2016
I keep a gallon ziplock bags of chicken bones and veggie scraps in the freezer for making stock, including things like onion tops, floppy carrots, parsley stems, etc. Old leftover celery stalks and leaves go in this freezer bag as well. It's easier than trying to figure out a way to use those last stalks because I know I will eventually use them.

When I make stock, I pull out the bag of whatever bones I'm planning to use (chicken usually, but sometimes I have beef bones or make fish stock) plus the bag of those veggies.
Pamela M. February 11, 2016
I love this idea. I've been going back to my family farm roots and being more mindful about using all of the food I purchase. Back then I canned and froze food from the garden. Now I buy most of it, but use lots of vegetables and want to get the maximum benefit for what I spend. Plus homemade is almost always better than store bought.