Celery Leaves: Cook or Discard them?

Home Grown Celery

Since becoming a gardener, I am constantly looking of ways to use every part of the vegetable.  Over the years, I have learned that cauliflower, turnip, and broccoli leaves are amazing.  See here for a recipe for greens to die for.  Simple easy and addicting. I have even tried cooking sunflower leaves but when they are big, they are tough and I just don’t care for them.

This was my first year growing celery.  What a beautiful plant.  I have to admit, it was a reasonably easy plant to grow and stands erect and full.  Since a hard frost is coming, I have to start pulling it.  I don’t know if it is the seed that I chose or perhaps if I had a longer growing season, but the stalks were kind of thin. And what do I do with those gorgeous celery leaves?

Can I use the leaves for cooking?

As I was cutting up the stalks, I thought to myself, don’t toss the leaves in the compost. Find out what you can use them for?  Have any of you used celery leaves for soups?

Always the curious one, I tasted a leaf.  It tasted like celery (duh) but was a little bitter for me. In fact my celery was bitter too.

Bitter Home Grown Celery

In my process of looking to find out about the uses of celery leaves, I learned that  I did not blanch the celery before I harvested it.   What an odd term.  How do you blanch celery? Thoughts of boiling water for three minutes, plunging celery in the water, and then cooling it on ice ran through my mind.   Am I stupid?  Why would I do that?

So, how do you blanch celery without making it wimpy?

Basically, a couple weeks before you harvest, you block the sunlight from the celery.  See here for how you make garden celery sweeter Next year, I will make ready made trenches to make it easier to blanch.  Heck, why not call it what it is.  Bury the celery!

So, how can you use the celery leaf?

Storing celery leaves

How to cook with celery leaves

Not making soup right now?  Me neither.  So, I decided to dry my leaves in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees. (See picture of leaves ready to go into the oven.) The above article said you can freeze them too or dry them in a paper bag.  The dried leaf was crispy like a potato chip.  Not bad either.  Less bitter than when it was fresh.

So, what have you used celery leaves for?



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Comments

  1. 2

    David@ As Seen on TV says

    Never even thought about celery… I need to put this in my garden and good looking out on the leaves being edible I would never have thought to even inquire about that! This was our first year doing a garden so all the tips I can gather the better.
    David@ As Seen on TV´s last blog post ..Pasta Boat Review

  2. 3

    Jolie says

    Add them in pickle jars, for flavouring. Or simply use them fresh to garnish soups, instead of or along with parsley or cilantro.

  3. 9

    Rachael says

    The best way to blanch celery is right from the start, cover each stalk with a box. I use orange juice or milk boxes, just cut the top off and put it over the celery. Also, you can just take the large black containers that you purchase veggie starts in, and place that over top. It works great :)

  4. 10

    Birdeena says

    Awesome article! I wanted to know what to do with my celery leaves and found your site. I actually planted my celery last year and it frosted before I could harvest it…to my surprise it came back up full force this year and it’s HUGE! YAY! BUT I didn’t thin it out and so the stocks are a bit on the small side…I tried one today and it was bitter, but finding your article I am going to “blanch” my celery! Thanks for the tips! Do you know how to make celery salt? I might google that too :o)

  5. 14

    CeleryDeath says

    Celery leaves are poisonous! Do your research. You can eat the stalk, but steer clear of the leaves!

    • 15

      Mariela Ravelo says

      Celery leaves TEA lowers your cholesterol! I am desperately looking for celery leaves to buy and make my tea and they are so hard to find in the store. Does anybody know where I can buy them?
      I have been drinking my celery leaf tea regularly and it is very refreshing. I really love it!! And if it helps me lower my cholesterol, I definitely want to continue wiht it.

    • 18

      Shandrissima says

      What are your sources for this information? All research I have done say exactly the opposite. Celery isn’t a member of the belladonna family as widely believed and anyway just because belladonna is poisonous doesn’t mean other members of that family are!

    • 20

      Liz says

      Really? Cause I’ve eaten them before and I’m still alive. I believe you’re getting celery confused with rhubarb there buddy.

        • 22

          Nicki says

          The leaves on rhubarb plants are quite toxic. You have to eat a LOT to achieve a lethal dose in an otherwise healthy adult, but it can still make you quite sick. The leaves have also been known to kill livestock, particularly back in WWI when feed stocks were scarce. Try a google search for rhubarb leaves and you’ll find a variety of sources on the dangers, symptoms and treatment of rhubarb poisoning.

  6. 24

    Krystal says

    I make top ramen and throw them in along with green onions & baby bok choy. They add a really nice flavor to the soup and they’re tasty when they’re cooked :)

  7. 26

    Sabrina says

    I chopped them up finely and add them to my scrabbled eggs :-) … I’ve done this since i was 17. Haha

    I don’t like eggs alone, without ketchup and was looking for a healthier alternative for flavour.

  8. 29

    Joel B says

    Today I bought a celery leaf plant in Jerusalem thinking it was a new type of parsley. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. 30

    Farah says

    i was looking for some ideas what to do with celery leaves..and ended up on your page…well great ideas…now i know what to do with them…:)

  10. 31

    Crandolyn says

    I prefer the inner, pale green leaves that grow on the inside small stalks of a head of celery. That’s a “secret ingredient” in my potato salad and apple salad. I just chop up 2-3 of the small stalks with all their leaves and put them in anything. My whole family prefers these to the large, normal stalks. I usually give away the big outer stalks as they are strongly flavored and have those nasty “strings” in them.

  11. 36

    Lisa says

    I made a pesto with the leaves and basil. I adapted this recipe from Cooks Illustrated.

    MAKES 3/4 CUP, ENOUGH FOR 1 POUND OF PASTA
    Pounding the basil releases its flavorful oils into the pesto more readily. Basil usually darkens in homemade pesto, but you can boost the green color a little by adding the optional parsley. For sharper flavor, substitute one tablespoon finely grated pecorino Romano cheese for one tablespoon of the Parmesan. The pesto can be kept in an airtight container, covered with a thin layer of oil (1 to 2 tablespoons), and refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to one month.
    INGREDIENTS
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (or substitute almonds or walnuts-I used walnuts)
    3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
    2 cups packed fresh celery leaves
    ½ cup packed fresh basil fresh parsley leaves (optional)
    7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt
    1 tsp lemon zest
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1/4cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano (or leave out for vegan).
    Ground black pepper

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Toast the nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes; set aside. Add the garlic to the empty skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the color of the cloves deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let the garlic cool slightly, then peel, and chop.
    2. Place the celery leaves and basil in a heavy-duty 1-gallon zipper-lock plastic bag. Pound the bag with the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.
    3. Process the nuts, garlic, herbs, oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Stir in the zest and lemon juice.
    Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I didn’t put in the cheese and it tasted great- so it could be a vegan pesto without the cheese).
    Serve over pasta or with cherry tomatoes, or crudite.

    • 37

      Anna@Green Talk says

      Lisa, that is amazing. I know you said to leave out the cheese for vegan, but will it not have that sharp pesto taste? I used nutritional yeast once and it was too bitter. Anna

  12. 38

    hank says

    Thank You so much for all the garden info you provide.
    It’s the greatest thing to me to go out in the garden and pick a leaf of celery or parsley and chew it while checking the rest of the garden.
    Appreciate your efforts ,advice and suggestions. I know it’s hard work, but that’s why we enjoy it because we get out what we put in.
    Thank you very much !

  13. 39

    Holly says

    I use my leaves in stuffing. Sometimes I feel like the fall taste in summer and just dice up my leaves and celery and saute in butter and throw it in my stuffing. Or I dry the leaves and put them in my Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing.
    Thanks for all the great ideas. I think I’m going to try the celery pesto.

  14. 41

    moyra says

    I am just experimenting with the same thing. I think soup sounds good and was just thinking that in stuffing it would be ace. I just braised them in a little olive oil, and put on some lemon juice, its not bad, but calls for pine nuts or spreading out somewhat as its a strong flavour. and as a leaf its quite tough to eat. am leaving it in the lemon for a while to see what happens.
    I like the suggestion of orange cartons to blanch it. the leaves look so lush though, seems a shame to waste em. will try a soup

  15. 43

    Nobody in Particular says

    I like to add the dried celery leaves (crunched up by hand) into mashed potatoes or any seafood dish at all. Celery salt (made from celery leaves) is a key component in Old Bay, commonly used to season crabs where I’m from.

  16. 45

    wesley stringer says

    when I was growing up my mom would use celery leaves in dressing when we did not have sage leaves. I could not tell the difference.

  17. 47

    Lisa says

    Thanks for all the ideas everyone!
    I cut up the leaves along with the stalks to use in soups, stir- fries, and tuna salad.

  18. 49

    Mike says

    I like to use them in cajun dishes for flavor. I melt them into the roux – you can’t do that with the stalks.

  19. 51

    Sonia says

    Hi Anna
    have been growing celery for years. Live in a hot in summer and frosty in winter area. I don’t blanch mine and they taste fine. They do need to be watered well. I never pick the whole plant just stalks as I need them. I think speed of growing may have something to do with taste. If I need to feed I usually just do a foliar with seaweed (Sea sol) and fish emulsion. Sonia

  20. 53

    Judy Villers says

    How long can you keep the celery leaves after you dry them in the oven…?
    Can you freeze the dried leaves?

    • 54

      Anna@Green Talk says

      Judy, I had mine over 2 years. I put them in a glass container away from the sun. I never freeze mine since it isn’t necessary. You could freeze them fresh and use them that way too. Anna

  21. 55

    Jacki says

    I dry the leaves in corning ware with only the pilot light for a few days then put in glass seasoning bottle and use the leaf for tuna, egg salad, etc. Good for the nerves.

  22. 57

    Barb Melrose says

    I do believe the crushed leaves would be fantastic in deviled eggs or egg salad spread (for sandwiches). How about making a veggie stock (broth) using celery leaves too???

  23. 59

    Nell Wade says

    I dry the leaves in my dehydrator. When crispy, I break them up and add sea salt to it. Put it in a spice jar and use it to season all kinds of food, but especially soup and eggs. Lasts for months. I’ve given it away and everyone enjoys it – says “it’s so fresh”!

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