Celery is an amazing vegetable. It’s an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C and folate, plus by the time you’re done eating it, you’ve actually BURNED calories!
Now if it were only the same with tortilla chips, I’d be set.
There seems to be some confusion though with what to do with the celery leaves. Do you eat them? Do you throw them away? Do you cut off celery at the “seam” and only use the ribs (what you would normally call celery)? Do you break off the outer ribs and only use the hearts?
In case you hadn’t heard, celery leaves are poisonous.
At least that’s what some of my research has shown… but I eat the leaves, and I’m not dead. And it’s the leaves that are most often used to make dried celery.
Have you ever used dried celery before in a recipe? Are you dead?
Didn’t think so. Now that this myth has been debunked…
The leaves are completely edible (and even taste like celery!). There’s no taste or nutritional difference between the outer and inner ribs, the seam doesn’t mean anything and the leaves are edible. 95% of the vegetable can be eaten – all you have to do is wash it so you’re not eating dirt.
But that’s cool if you want to eat the dirt too.
If you’re not sure what to do with the parts of celery you’re not used to eating, here are a few ideas:
Above the Seam
- Use in homemade soup or stock
- Add to salads for extra crunch
- Use as a transportation device for peanut butter
- Use in homemade soup or stock
- Add to a salad
- Substitute for cilantro
- Add to smoothies
- Make your own celery seasoning
Notice that the ideas above are probably the same uses you’re already using celery for. That’s my point! Minus the base of the stalk (the part that’s actually in the dirt), the entire stalk can be eaten. Consider alternate purposes of the celery that you’re used to throwing away, especially the last idea for the leaves. Making your own celery seasoning is SO incredibly easy and I have a tutorial to share with you. Never again will you buy dried celery from the store when you see how easy it is to make your own.
Step 1 – Wash the celery
Step 2 – Pull off all the leaves from the celery stalk
Step 3 – Spread the leaves out on a plate
Step 4 – Wait one day.
Step 5 – Rearrange or shuffle the leaves around. Wait another day.
Step 6 – Repeat step 5 as necessary until all leaves are completely dry
Step 7 – Place dried leaves into a re-purposed glass jar.
That’s it! Now you have dried celery that you can use in any recipe that calls for it. If it suits your fancy, you can chop the dried celery or grind it in a coffee grinder or food processor too. (With all the work involved in making this, I was just too tired. 🙂
The dried celery leaves are perfect for potato salad. I have been doing this for years. All of the garden veggies (or store bought) that don’t get used right away as fresh, I dry…tomatoes, carrots, etc. It makes crock pot soups so easy to have everything ready in the winter without having to buy them. Not to mention much easier than the mess of canning and having to wait for enough veggies to make the canning procedure doable and justified. Dried celery is sooo useful to have in the pantry.
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Thanks so much for sharing! We agree! 🙂
Can you dry the stalks?
Kyare - Team Crumbs
The stalks have a large amount of water and will go bad if they are dried in this way.
Thank you for your information! One other thing I love to do with the leaves is to place them in the Spanish rice, as it’s cooking. I gives it such a wonderful flavor.
I recently came across your website and I love it! and all the info that it has. I’ve learned a lot and I’m 53! I’m constantly sharing your website with family and friends.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Sally!
I’m 62 and have been doing this for a long time! My paternal grandmother taught me so much about running a kitchen and not wasting food. She also showed me how to keep green onions in a glass of water on the window sill (next to all the little houseplant cuttings she always had in progress) and use them for several weeks. We would cut off how ever much green we needed and the darn plants would grow back! Love your site…this year I am branching out and trying my hand at pressure canning some of the low acid vegetables from my garden. Sure do wish Grandma had taught me how to do that! Next year: beehive and some chickens! LOL
Can you dry celery in the oven?
I’m sure you could Julia, but you’d have to make sure the temperature is really low if you’re drying the leaves.
I love celery, but find cleaning it to be difficult & time consuming. There’s got to be an easier way than what I’ve always done, which is to wash each stalk under running water with a vegetable brush. And then dealing with all of those strings when you cut it! It goes bad quickly & since it’s so difficult to prepare I find myself avoiding buying it. Any tips to make the process easier?
Unfortunately not with celery. I wash it well with my hands first before using a scrub brush, and I’ve learned not to brush too hard because of those strings, lol.
Veronique Free Spirit
Lol, what a brilliant article! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
So nothing is wasted. Plant the bottom few inches of the root end and water well. Makes a nice plant and good eating.
Thanks for the tip Chris!
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottae
That is ridiculously easy! I’d never thought of drying the leaves. Thanks for sharing it. I know it’s good for us. I’m trying to add more veggies and less meat. Partly because of the cost, you know?
Yep, I know! Making one meal each week meatless is definitely helping us stay in budget.
Celery has also been proven to dramatically reduce blood pressure. There was a gentleman a while back who had really high blood pressure – the only part of his diet that he changed was that he began eating 4 stalks of celery a day. A few weeks later, high BP was in the normal range : )