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How to Dehydrate Celery

Don’t let your celery languish in the refrigerator to rot! Dehydrate it to use all year long in everything you already use it for. And a bonus is the awesome celery powder you can make with it that can be a salt substitution with flare!

dehydrated celery stems leaves and powder in glass mason jars on wooden background

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First, let me just put this out there. I hate celery. I hate it with a passion. I hate it so much. Maybe I hate the texture and not the taste so much.

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Celery Stalks vs. Celery Ribs

But before we get started – did you know – a bunch of celery is called the stalk…and each individual piece is called a rib? So when a recipe calls for a stalk of celery – which do you use?!

  • Celery stalks = the whole bunch
  • Celery ribs = each piece
Celery and all of its parts in preparation for dehydrating.

How to Dehydrate Celery

Quick Instructions: Slice, blanch, dry at 125°F/52°C for 6-8 hours until hard and dry.

A collage of pictures showing how to dehydrate celery.

1. Separate ribs

PRO TIP: Destringing the celery might create a better-finished texture for you. Just use a vegetable peeler to peel the outside of the stalk lightly.

2. Clean Celery

  • Celery collects a lot of dirt and other debris in the stalks. I separate all of the ribs to soak and wash. Others cut the celery first, wash what they’ll use, and compost out the rest. Use a wet rag to wipe off particularly dirty stalks.
  • Allow to dry on a tea towel.

3. Chop Celery

Your choice –

  • Chop into bite-sized slices for use in stews and soups and all manner of cooking, or
  • Chop into finer pieces, by hand or with a food processor (I use this Ninja Food System one), for easier powdering down the road. You will not need to blanch these pieces (see below), so no worries.

4. Blanch or not

Blanching, or parboiling, is a method of dumping a vegetable into a large pot of boiling water for a few minutes, then quickly removing it and plunging it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. This is to:

  • Stop the enzymatic process that causes food to go bad on the shelf.
  • Preserve color – in some cases, to stop from completely turning black from oxidation, like potatoes, or to preserve a brighter color.
  • Make rehydrating easier – in the case of celery – blanched celery rehydrates to a softer end product.

My general rule for vegetables is that if you eat it raw, don’t blanch it. It’s not a solid rule – there are other vegetables you want to blanch for dehydrating even though you may eat them raw, but celery straddles that line.

You may need to experiment with both methods to see which you prefer.

5. Dehydrate at 125°F | 52°C for 6-8 hours

Sliced celery on Excalibur dehydrator trays.

Please your celery onto your dehydrator trays. You don’t have to be finicky about how you place them, they shrink a lot, so you can pile them on.

I’m using an Excalibur Dehydrator, but you can use any dehydrator you’d like.

6. Check for dryness

Before and after photos of dehydrated celery on Excalibur trays.

Celery should be hard pellets when done.

►TIP Always take samples out to allow them to cool before testing.

7. Condition

This is a crucial step for dehydrators. You need to allow your produce to equalize the humidity between pieces as well as check for excess moisture. Be sure to follow the conditioning protocol before moving on to storage!

8. Store in an airtight container

Vacuum sealing dried celery into jars.

You can, of course, leave your dehydrated celery in an airtight container such as glass mason jars. But like other dehydrated products, celery absorbs moisture pretty quickly, so I suggest a moisture absorber tossed in to help. Be sure to label your jar!

It is best to keep your jars in a cool, dark, dry place for optimal storage of up to two years (you may get longer!)

Use a full-sized vacuum sealer, or this handy hand-held vacuum sealer to seal in jars between uses. You will need to also use the Food Saver jar attachments, but they work with any machine that has the tube port for vacuum sealing containers.

TIP ►► You can add your dehydrated celery leaves to your DIY Green Powder to expand the flavor profile easily!

How to Condition

Conditioning dehydrated foods is a way to test to be sure the moisture has equalized in your container and that there is no excess moisture.

  1. Place food into a jar with enough room to move.
  2. Shake once a day for 5-7 days.
  3. Look for any signs of moisture buildup: Food sticking to the sides or bottom that won’t easily shake off, clumping, moisture beads on food or jar.
  4. If you find these issues, place food back into the dehydrator to dry more.
  5. If you see any mold, toss everything out and sanitize your jar.

Want to learn even more about conditioning? Check out this How to Condition Tutorial.

How to Rehydrate Celery

Rehydrating is easy! But there’s a trick! Choose one of these methods to reconstitute dried celery:

  • Put your desired amount of dehydrated celery into a bowl, cover it with boiling water, and put a plate on top to keep the heat. Allow to steep for 15-30 minutes;
  • Place into a mason jar full of water, put into the fridge, and allow to soak overnight;
  • Place into a pot of simmering water or directly into a long-cooking soup or stew;

The trick to rehydrating well is giving the celery plenty of time to cook. Simply rehydrating gets it back to ‘raw’, but it won’t be cooked unless you do a slow rehydrate method in simmering heat.

Comparison of blanched celery (top) and non-blanched celery in dehydrating.

Benefits of Blanching vs. Not Blanching

I tested this out to show you my experience with the blanch vs. no blanch methods.

  • To keep the color – Blanching helps keep the green color longer. Non-blanched celery may turn white over time.
  • Keep it from browning? Unfortunately, I didn’t find that blanching vs. not blanching settled the argument. Both sets of celery bits are browned equally.
  • Easier rehydrating? Some, but the personal preference of time spent blanching vs. the texture of rehydrated celery will play into this.

Rehydrating the blanched pieces made them taste like they’d been in a soup for a while – soft and spongy. I would worry that putting them into long-cooking soups or stews might make them mush.

The non-blanched pieces still had a little brightness and crunch to them. They would be great for throwing into fresh salads or chicken salad, where you might not want the full body of fresh celery, but a little crunch is good. I preferred this version of the two.

So – do you need to blanch? That’s totally up to you.

3 Ways to Make Rehydrated Celery Better

Some folks don’t like the way celery rehydrates. Sometimes, it’s chewy, sometimes stringy, so here are 3 ways to make it better.

  • De-string celery – use a vegetable peeler and peel the outer strings from the celery – process and dry.
  • Cook it fully – instead of taking the blanching approach, sweat the celery in a skillet fully, as if you were preparing a mirepoix or holy trinity for a meal. Then process as normal.
  • Process into small bits and not the typical larger slices. It will dry faster and rehydrate into bites that may not cause the texture issues you experience.
Four pictures of chopped vegetables in a food processor.

How to Make Celery Powder

Toss a handful of dehydrated celery into a dedicated coffee grinder to create a celery powder. I recommend only doing enough for a few uses, since it keeps better than a large jar of celery powder. You can also make this same kind of powder from your dehydrated frozen veggies!

Learn more: Using Dried Onions in creating Mirepoix and The Holy Trinity

Dried Celery Conversion Chart

What is the yield of dehydrated celery?

Dehydrated celery conversion chart.

More Tips

Can you dehydrate celery leaves?

Yes, dehydrate them like you dehydrate other herbs. They are great for a spicy addition or even to replace parsley.

Why is my dried celery stringy?

If your celery ribs are stringy, the dried version will feel more stringy to eat as it is a concentrated texture. Simply use a vegetable peeler to peel the outer layer of your celery ribs before blanching and dehydrating.

Should I freeze or dehydrate celery?

Frozen celery is more quickly useable; dehydrated celery is shelf-stable and doesn’t take up freezer space. Choose whatever option is best for you.

Can you dehydrate cooked celery?

Yes – you may choose to fully cook your celery before dehydrating which will make rehydrating easier.

More Recipes with Dehydrated Celery

Use these posts to print the recipes for the mentioned seasoning bends above.

Dehydrating Basics & Journal book and ebook mockup
dehydrated celery stems leaves and powder in glass mason jars on wooden background

How to Dehydrate Celery

Dehydrating celery stops you from wasting that celery that always languishes in the back of your fridge from good intentions! Perfect for prepping your pantry with essential basics of cooking!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Preserved Food, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Drying TIme: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 6kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

Dehydrating Celery

  • Separate Ribs
  • Wash well
  • Chop into bite sized pieces or rough chop in a food processor
  • Blanch for 4 minutes, then dunk into ice bath to stop cooking process. This is an optional step, but will make the texture better and keep color longer.
  • Dehydrate at 125°F / 52°C for 6-10 hours
  • Cool to test: Should be hard, not spongy, and darker when dried.
  • Condition
  • Store in an airtight container for up to two years.

How to Create Celery Powder

  • Place celery pieces into a coffee grinder or bullet blender
  • Pulse until celery is in tiny pieces
  • Grind for 30 second intervals until powdered.
  • Condition powder by placing on lined cookie sheets in a warmed but off oven for fifteen minutes
  • Store in an airtight container for 6-9 months.

Video

Darcy’s Tips

  • Blanching is optional in this process. But remember that it will affect the end product, so experiment with it both ways to see which you prefer.
  • Destringing the celery is a way to help reduce the ‘stringiness’ of celery once rehydrated. It is an optional step.

Nutrition

Serving: 3Tablespoons | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutritional information is an estimation only. Nutrient information for dehydrated foods is based on fresh. Use 1/4 of the servicing size for the same nutrient information. Thus 1 Cup of fresh fruit has the same sugars as 1/4 dried.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Darcy, I love how much useful information you packed into this post! I’m now a fan!
    My celery is dehydrating now. Thank you!

  2. Avatar for Francine Burke Francine Burke says:

    I’m concerned about botulism…
    Does store bought blueberries and cranberries have too much moisture to store vacuum sealed?

    1. if you don’t dry them properly. There is a recommendation to dry them more. They have chemicals to help keep them soft, but still have enough to be an issue – but botulism is so rare. Good thing that no dehydrated foods need to be vacuum sealed 😉

  3. Ok I am looking for the print off of the celery recipe I don’t see it plz and thank u.

    1. Click the link where it says Other Recipes for Dehydrated Celery – one is celery salt.

  4. Avatar for Polly Ester Polly Ester says:

    Glad you had this info here and handy; I’ve got a food processor full of excess celery and I was just standing there wondering if I needed to blanch it. Nope – not gonna bother after reading this.

  5. Avatar for ronda corkhill ronda corkhill says:

    Wow, you educated me today! I always considered a stalk a rib. I didn’t realize it was the whole kit and caboodle. I now know I’ve been failing my recipes.

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