Celery is one of those foods that is most often eaten raw or used in soups and stocks much like an herb is. It’s not one that you can really preserve by canning, pickling, or freezing to good effect. Dehydration though, is a good option for celery. You can dry the leaves for use as an herb and the stalks can be left in lengths or can be chopped in smaller pieces to your preference.
The key to good celery dehydration is to blanch the stalks first so that they keep their bright green color, rather than turning brown.
Choose fresh celery that is bright in color and is not limp
Trim the leaves from the stems
Drying the Leaves:
Wash the leaves and spin them in a salad spinner, or pat dry with a towel
Begin drying the leaves in your dehydrator or oven on a low temperature around 95 degrees
Dry for approximately 5 hours (using electric dehydrator).
Place the leaves in air tight containers such as canning jars or plastic bags
Drying the Stalks:
With the leaves removed, trim any funky spots off and wash well
Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes
Drain and shock with cold water
Place on drying racks in your dehydrator or oven for 4-8 hours. Smaller garden varieties might only take a few hours. Large grocery store types might take 8 hours.
Store dried stalks in an airtight jar or bag. They shrivel up quite a bit, but can be rehydrated and used in recipes calling for fresh celery.
Note: If you want to dry the leaves and the stalks at the same time, give the leaves an hour or so at 95 degrees, then turn up the heat to 115, and place the stalk trays on the top, or closer to the heat source. Check often and remove the leaves as soon as their done.
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