7/18/21

Need to use up celery? Dehydrate it! Dehydrate it and then either use right away or food seal for longer term storage. (Updated 1/22)

 (Small update to my dehydrator at the bottom of the post)

 

We hosted a family get-together last month and had a whole bag of celery leftover.  It sat in the refrigerator for a couple weeks waiting for me to use it up but the first bag wasn't completely gone yet so we were still using that one.  Finally, as the ends were starting to brown, I knew I needed to 'get around to it' that day.

I decided to replenish our jar of dehydrated celery in the pantry.  

I freeze the leafy part of celery to use in future soups or homemade broth, but when I have too much celery to use up, my favorite way is to dehydrate it.  

I know not everyone has a dehydrator at home - for years I didn't either.  But my husband saw one on clearance at Home Depot or Lowes years ago and bought it for me. It's a very low-end (cheap) version with no bells or whistles and has worked great for me over the past 9 (?) years now.   You can dehydrate small vegetable pieces like this in the sun or in the oven as well but I never have since I use my dehydrator.  

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The best thing is... NO PREP NEEDED.  

Just wash and trim the celery into pieces roughly the same size so they dehydrate evenly and at the same rate.

That's it.

One full large bag of celery from Sam's Club or Costco, once dehydrated, fits into a small pint sized jar.

Store in an airtight jar in your cupboard or pantry.  You can rehydrate with warm water and let it set for 15-20 minutes before using or add directly to your soups or sauces and simmer. 

 

 

You can see the ends were starting to brown - time to use it up quickly!

 

 

Just trim the ends off and dice the rest to use 

 


Try to make your pieces uniform so they dry at the same rate.

 

My trays didn't come with canvas liners - I made a post about those a few years ago.  I just bought canvas sheets and drew around the trays and then trimmed to size.  I've managed to misplace one of the canvas liners and I don't want the pieces to fall through the larger slats of the trays so for that one I just use parchment paper.

That's it.  Just place your pieces on the trays and turn on your dehydrator.  Again, mine is a really cheap model and doesn't allow me to change the temperature so it just has an 'on' and 'off' button but if you have a more expensive model, just use the temperature yours calls for or at one of the lowest temperatures yours offers as celery (and mushrooms) dry very quickly.  

Near the end of drying time (just a few hours) you'll want to remove the dried pieces and let the ones still plump to dry a bit longer.  Let them all cool down to room temperature before sealing tightly so there is no condensation or moisture in the jars.




NOTE FOR STORAGE:  Over the past few years I just stored our dehydrated foods in a small canning jar or jelly jar.  I was using either the metal lid and rings or the reusable plastic caps for the jars I was using up in the next couple months in regular cooking. 

For longer storage you can use your canister attachment for a food sealer.  Because the smaller, regular sized lids are a bit temperamental on holding their seal, either use a wide mouth jar (because those almost always seem to seal perfectly for long term) or, as I found this week, Tattler lids seal perfectly with the canister attachments!  No more popped lids as with the metal versions.  


 *SMALL UPDATE: 

I originally posted this in July of 2021.  In December, my husband bought me a new dehydrator for Christmas (I hadn't even mentioned anything about wanting one or the fact that I had been looking online at the Cosori brand because it was an affordable option to the Excalibur, etc. that we absolutely cannot afford).  

He bought me the Cosori Dehydrator which I have been using weekly since Christmas and oh what a game changer for me.  I still think my original, simple, (cheap) round dehydrator is great for a beginner or to see if food dehydrating is something you will actually do enough of to warrant buying a different model - but I even mentioned above in my original post that I wished I had been able to change the temperature, because those simple, basic models only come with an on/off switch and you can't change the temperature nor does it have a timer.

The Cosori has a timer, and allows me to change the temperature (and has an alarm, 6 trays, etc.) but the reason for this update on the celery post is that being able to lower the temperature a bit kept my dehydrated celery a more 'bright, brilliant' green and I had less browning or dulling of color than I do with the basic round dehydrator. It may not have all the bells, whistles or size of the expensive brands others can afford, but I'm in love with it and having fun stocking our pantry with all sorts of dehydrated foods.






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