Cooking with Celery

Cooking with Celery

Its crunchy texture makes celery a favorite for eating raw, but celery's sweet side is best emphasized when cooked. Used as part of an aromatic base, celery lends a sweet, herbal flavor to soups, sauces and stews. On its own, celery makes luscious braises and gratins.

 The Basic

  • Choosing celery - Look for firm ribs with a bright green color. Rubbery ribs and yellow or brown leaves indicate that celery is past its prime.

  • Storing - Wrap loosely in plastic and refrigerate. Celery will start to go limp after just 2 or 3 days, so use it soon after you have purchased it. To help celery last for up to 10 days, wrap it in aluminum foil.

  • To remove the strings - Peel away the tough, fibrous strings with a vegetable peeler. They don't become tender when cooked. Another method is snapping off the narrow end of the celery stalk from its concave side using your fingers, leaving the strings intact. Slowly pull the strings down the length of the stalk until they naturally detach at the wide end.

  • To keep celery sticks crisp - Stack upright in a tall glass in a couple of inches of ice water.

  • To revive limp celery - Trim 1/8" from the base of the stalk base and place the stalk in a glass of ice water in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

  • To chop a large amount quickly - Keep the whole stalk intact and slice across the entire bunch of celery ribs, starting just below the leafy tops. Transfer the chopped portion to a colander to pick out any chopped leaves and rinse clean.

  • To slice quickly - Use an egg slicer, Trim the celery tops and bottoms. Open the slicer, and with the slicing wires upright, guide each rib of celery lengthwise through the wires.

  • To julienne - Proceed as directed above for slicing, then rotate the sliced lengths one-quarter turn and pass lengthwise through the slicing wires again. Cut the resulting strips crosswise into 2" lengths.

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