Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Freezing Celery Leaves

      I planted celery a couple of years ago from starts given to me by a neighbor park gardener.  The plants grew, yet I have never harvested a good stalk of celery.  For one thing, the stalks are hollow!  And they are a dark green with a very, very celery taste.  Another gardener, Lou Gallo, told me I could freeze the tops for soups or other cooked casseroles.  Sounds like a plan.

Celery patch after 23 degree morning, 12/29/11
      I have been surprised at how cold hardy the celery is.  It may go limp as in the photo above from a 23 degree morning, but then it bounces back in the sunny afternoon.  But I doubted it would bounce back from the predicted 13 degree low for tomorrow morning, so yesterday I harvested a lot of the better looking celery tops.  Dumped them on the table to take only the best and freshest looking leaves:

Celery tops, 1/2/12
      I kept only the top leaves, discarding most of the stalk.  The leaves were washed, spun dry in the pillow case, then packed tightly in sandwich bags.  When frozen, you are supposed to be able to just break off what you want to put directly frozen into the soup pot.  I boiled up a cup of celery leaf tea, and was pleased with the flavor it will impart to soups.

Big bag to compost, three bags to the freezer

      The celery self seeds very easily.  I have hundreds of small celery plants now, many of which will survive the winter unprotected.  If they didn't it would not matter, as many overwintered seeds would sprout in the warmer spring weather.  Plus there are a bunch of volunteers inside the cold frames, so they should survive the winter unscathed.  To flower, then go to seed.  I will never lack for hollow celery.


  1. I never thought about freezing the celery tops. I must remember to do this. I love adding them to soup stock. I also had not thought about celery leaf tea! What a wonderful idea.

  2. I purée the leaves in a blender with a small amount of water. Then I pour
    the mixture into small muffin ou ice cube trays and freeze them. I then transfer the cubes or "cakes" to freezer bags and then they are ready to be used in soups, stocks or stir fries. I do this with mint leaves and spinach too.