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How to Tell if Celery Has Gone Bad (with photos!)

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Here's how to easily tell if celery has gone bad! Celery can last for a surprisingly long time in the refrigerator and you can even revive celery that has gone a little soft, but older, rotting celery has some tell-tale signs.

Celery is a great veggie to have on hand. It's usually inexpensive and while is often plays a supporting role in recipes it can be crucial to getting the right flavor. I like to serve it as a snack with some PB or dip, chopped and added to soups or salads, or roasted with meat.

Old, rotting celery doesn't taste good and isn't safe to eat. I'll show you what signs to look for, how to best store celery, and answer some FAQs about celery.

Celery stalk that are bent over.
Old celery with limp stalks and yellowing leaves.
Dried leaves on a celery stalk.
Limp celery stalks with dry leaves.

Signs of Rot in Celery

Look for these signs to see if your celery has gone bad.

  1. Discoloration - Celery that is older and rotting will have discolored leaves and sometimes stalks. If the leaves are turning yellow or brown your celery may be too old. If the stalk part of the celery is yellow, brown, or has black spots it should be discarded.
  2. Slimy Texture - If celery feels slimy or wet to the touch it should be discarded.
  3. Wilting & Dryness - One of the first signs celery is going bad will be wilting and dryness in the leaves. If the leaves are crispy but the stalks are still firm and crunchy, you can use the celery. But if the stalks seem dry, the celery will not taste good and should be discarded.
  4. Smell - if the celery has a strong smell that's acrid or ammonia-like it should be discarded.
  5. Softness - If the celery stalks have lost their crispiness and feel soft or bendable, the celery should be discarded. It will no longer taste good.
An old head of celery with dry leaves.

The Best Way to Store Celery

Celery is best when kept in the refrigerator crisper drawer. It looks to be cold and can be lightly wrapped in a damp paper towel to extend its shelf-life.

If your celery has a lot of leaves, you can trim them off to keep the stalks crispier for longer.

Celery FAQs

How long does celery keep in the fridge?

Fresh celery will keep from 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Do you need to store celery in the fridge?

Yes, celery will stay better for longer if it is stored in the refrigerator.

Can you eat celery leaves?

Yes, celery leaves are edible and be used in your cooking. Chop them and use them as a garnish, in salads, or added to soups or vegetable stock.

How long does cut celery last?

Cut or diced celery will keep for up to 4 days when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can you freeze celery?

Yes, you can freeze celery. I recommend dicing it before freezing and storing it i a freezer safe bag. It will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

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