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Live Well. Eat Well.

Humble Celery

Time to bring in some green for spring! With the white of winter, I enjoy talking about green produce this time of year. Celery is up for the role this month. (It helps, of course, that April is also National Fresh Celery Month.)

Nutritionally, a large stalk of celery contains 10 calories, 2g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and small amounts of some vitamins and minerals, including potassium and sodium. Celery is not a significant source of fat or protein.

  • Buy: Look for fresh heads of celery that are light to deep green in color. Stalks should be firm, and any attached leaves should be full, without signs of wilting. Avoid stalks that are limp or show signs of damage.

Some stores may sell pre-cut celery. As cut ends will dry out, look for the freshest cut containers. Celery may also be pre-cut in the freezer case, either alone or with other vegetables. Check that you are buying plain vegetables without added salt or sauces.

  • Price: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh celery costs $0.90 per pound on average. If buying just the hearts, the cost increases to an average of $2.25 per pound. Pound for pound, pre-cut celery will typically cost more than fresh heads.
  • Store: Celery will keep best in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator in a plastic bag. With its high water content, celery loses moisture quickly and may only keep for 1-2 weeks.

If you keep celery long enough it becomes limp, cut a small section off the bottom of the stalk and soak in water for about 30 minutes. The stalk will begin to firm up. Use immediately or refrigerate.

  • Prepare: Pull as many stalks as you need from the head. Wash and cut into desired size pieces.
  • Eat: Celery is primarily used as a flavoring agent in cooked and raw dishes. Raw celery also adds crunch. Beyond recipes, eat celery as a snack or filled for an appetizer. Ants on a log, anyone?


Celery is a classic addition to cold salads. It adds great crunch and flavor. This light side salad would be a nice addition to any spring menu.

Mediterranean Bean Salad (Serves 4)

This cold side salad is full of crisp vegetables and protein-rich beans. Stir in vacuum-packed tuna for a main dish.

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp pepper
Shredded lettuce
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. In a large bowl, combine beans, celery, red pepper, and onion.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, basil, and pepper.
3. Add oil mixture to bean mixture and toss to coat.
4. Serve over lettuce and sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 250 calories, 10g fat, 570mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 11g protein

Recipe presented at Kirby's Kitchen cooking series program (Piatt Co), 2013

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Parts of this post were previously included in Healthy Eats and Repeat. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.