When celery is real cheap, I buy several bunches to use when the price goes too high or I need some and don't have any fresh.
After washing the celery and letting it dry, I remove all the leaves. I put them, whole, on baking sheets lined with paper towels. I warm the oven on the lowest setting for about 8 minutes, then turn it off and put the baking sheets in. The oven isn't warm enough to harm the paper towels, but will help dry the leaves out. I rewarm the oven and stir the leaves around every few hours until the leaves are completely dry and brittle. I crumble them up and put them in jars.
They come in real handy when I want celery flavor without celery pieces in things like gravy, sauces and dips, and for making my own salt-free herb blends.
I slice the celery stalks up, blanch them 3 minutes, and let them drain. When they are dry, I freeze them in 1 cup portions in freezer bags.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
I've often dried the celery leaves when there are lots of them on a bunch, but have never tried freezing celery at all other than in soups or stews.
We rarely see much inflation in the price of celery here in Florida as it grows so well here up around Sanford, and it's also very easy to grow in pots. But in areas where you have long hard winters, I can certainly see the advantage of buying and preserving one way or another in preparation for the seasonal higher prices.
I've found that the celery leaves I dry here at home are very aromatic and have much more flavor than any I've ever purchased dried, so a little goes a long way. Good cornbread dressing or stuffing just can't be made without celery, fresh or dried.
Thanks for the freezing tips Copasetic 1. I may try that one day myself and will gladly pass the information along.
I had never thought about drying them myself. Thanks for that tip.
You do not have to blanch the celery before you freeze it. I have frozen celery for years and never blanched it.
Can't believe I never thought of this! Great idea! Sometimes I will use celery seeds instead of celery but some people are turned off by something that looks like "little bugs"..LOL..I will definitely try this now. Thanks!
It is easy to dry your own celery flakes to be used in salads, tuna salads, or one of your favorite recipes.
I just strip the celery stalks of all the leaves and let them dry out thoroughly. They can be pulverized by hand and stored in a plastic bag.
Instead of throwing away your leafy celery tops, make your own dry celery flakes to use for flavoring in cooking anything from soups to stuffing to omelets by drying and storing them. All you have to do is place on a baking sheet in your oven at 200 degrees F for a half hour to 45 minutes.
They also freeze very well. ;-)
By Deeli from Richland, WA
Back in the 1940's, my mother would put the celery leaves into a brown paper bag. Then she would hang the bag in the pantry to dry. Once dried, they were stored in air tight containers. This can be done with many herbs, mints, etc. (08/31/2009)
What a great idea! I am going to try this right away!
See posts of using microwave to dry. I do this. There is a UTube video that shows this. Within a few minutes, you can have your batches ready for storage. Better color and flavor are retained.