When and How to Harvest Celery

When it comes to growing celery, one of the most important steps is knowing when and how to harvest it. Harvesting celery at the right time is crucial to ensure that it is flavorful and tender.

If you wait too long to harvest, the celery may become tough and bitter, while harvesting too early can result in small, underdeveloped stalks.

When to Harvest Celery

Knowing the right time to harvest your celery is crucial to ensure that you get the best taste and quality. Here are some tips on when to harvest your celery:

Timing

Celery takes around 120-180 days to mature from seed to harvest. The best time to harvest celery is when it reaches its full size and the stalks are about 8-12 inches tall. You can also check the maturity of the celery by looking at the color of the stalks. When the stalks are a light green color, it means that the celery is not yet mature. However, when the stalks are a darker green color, it means that the celery is mature and ready to be harvested.

Signs of Maturity

To check if your celery is mature, you can gently pull up a stalk from the soil. If the stalk snaps easily, it means that the celery is mature and ready to be harvested. Another way to check for maturity is to look at the leaves. When the celery is mature, the leaves will start to turn yellow and wilt.

How to Harvest Celery

Harvesting celery is a simple process, but it requires some care to ensure that the plant is not damaged. Here are the steps to follow when harvesting celery:

  1. Look for signs of maturity: Celery is ready for harvest when the stalks are at least 8 to 10 inches long, and the leaves are dark green and crisp. The stalks should be thick, but not too thick, and they should have a good flavor.
  2. Choose the right time of day: The best time to harvest celery is early in the morning when the plant is still cool and moist. This will help to prevent wilting and damage to the leaves.
  3. Cut the stalks: Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the stalks off at the base of the plant. Be careful not to damage the plant or the roots. Leave the outer stalks in place so that the plant can continue to grow.
  4. Clean the stalks: Rinse the stalks in cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a vegetable brush to gently scrub the stalks if necessary.
  5. Store the celery: After harvesting, store the celery in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container. Celery will keep for up to two weeks if stored properly.

Storing Celery

After harvesting your celery, it’s important to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh and crisp. Here are some tips on how to store celery:

  • Refrigerate: Celery should be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Wrap the celery in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store it in the vegetable crisper drawer. You can also store celery in a plastic bag with a few holes punched in it to allow for air circulation.
  • Trim before storing: Remove any leaves from the celery before storing it. The leaves can cause the celery to wilt faster.
  • Don’t wash before storing: It’s best not to wash celery before storing it. The excess moisture can cause the celery to become soggy.
  • Use within a week: Celery will typically stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator. After that, it may start to wilt and lose its crispness.
  • Freeze for long-term storage: If you have a lot of celery and want to store it for longer than a week, you can freeze it. Simply chop the celery into small pieces and blanch it in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain the celery and then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. Frozen celery can be used in soups, stews, and other cooked dishes.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your celery stays fresh and crisp for as long as possible.

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Ana Harned

With over a decade of experience in gardening and horticulture, Ana Harned is a passionate botanist dedicated to promoting sustainable gardening practices. She holds a degree in botany and currently serves as the editor for Backyard Gardeners Network. Ana's love for gardening extends beyond her personal garden, as she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others about the joys and benefits of cultivating plants.

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