How to Store Celery Root

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a versatile and nutritious vegetable often used in soups, stews, and salads. Its distinctive flavor enhances many dishes, but it is also prone to spoilage if not stored properly.

A celery root is placed in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area, such as a cellar or refrigerator. It is stored in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped in a damp towel to maintain moisture

Understanding how to store celery root effectively ensures that you can enjoy its peak freshness and flavor for as long as possible.

Selecting Celery Root

A hand reaches for a celery root in a grocery store bin. A label instructs on proper storage

When shopping for celery root, also known as celeriac, assessing the quality of the vegetable is crucial for both its flavor and storage potential.

At the market, focus on finding celery roots that meet the following criteria to ensure you select the freshest and most suitable for storage:

  • Firmness: You should select a celery root that is firm to the touch. A high-quality celery root will resist pressure, indicating freshness and a lower likelihood of premature spoilage.
  • Skin: Look for roots with a relatively smooth skin. While some knobs and crevices are normal, the skin should ideally be free from large blemishes or soft spots, which could be signs of decay.
  • Color: The typical color of a healthy celeriac is a muted tan to brown. Even coloring is a good indicator of quality, and you should be cautious of discoloration, which might suggest the onset of rot.
  • Shape and Size: While the shape of celery root can vary significantly, opt for one that appears balanced, as irregular shapes can make peeling more challenging. Size doesn’t necessarily impact the quality, but a medium-sized root is often more manageable both for storage and culinary use.

Preparing Celery Root for Storage

Before tucking away your celery root for future use, ensure it is clean, properly trimmed, and thoroughly dry. Proper preparation helps in extending the freshness of the vegetable.

Cleaning

First, wash your celery root thoroughly to remove all the dirt.

Using cold water, carefully clean the surface. A stiff bristle brush can help dislodge any residual soil without damaging the skin of the root.

Cutting and Peeling

Once clean, cut away any green tops and roots using a sharp knife.

Then, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer of the celery root. Be sure to trim any rough spots to leave a clean surface.

Drying

After peeling, pat the celery root with paper towels to dry it completely.

Ensure there’s no excess moisture as this could lead to spoilage.

Allow it to air dry a little longer if needed, so the surface is not damp to touch.

Storing Celery Root in Refrigerator

Celery root placed in a refrigerator drawer, wrapped in a damp cloth

Before tucking your celery root away in the refrigerator, remember that controlling moisture and temperature is crucial to keep the root fresh. Use either paper or plastic to wrap the root, and choose the crisper drawer for optimal conditions.

Short-Term Refrigeration

To store celery root in the refrigerator for short-term use:

  1. Wrap the celery root in a damp paper towel to maintain the right level of moisture.
  2. Place the wrapped celery root in a plastic bag. Do not seal the bag completely; leave it partially open to allow for air circulation.
  3. Store the bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, which is designed to provide a consistent temperature and humidity level.

This storage method usually keeps celery root fresh for up to one to two weeks.

Long-Term Refrigeration

For long-term storage of celery root in the refrigerator:

  1. Blanch the celery root by boiling it in water for 3 minutes, which will deactivate enzymes that lead to spoilage.
  2. Transfer the celery root immediately into an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
  3. Dry the celery root thoroughly to prevent ice crystals from forming during freezing.
  4. Wrap the celery root in a dry paper towel and then place it inside an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag to protect from freezer burn.
  5. Store the container or bag in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator.

Blanching and freezing this way can extend the shelf life of celery root up to 6 months. When you wish to use it, thaw the celery root slowly in the refrigerator to maintain texture and flavor.

Storing Celery Root in Pantry or Basement

A pantry or basement with shelves holding celery roots in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space

To effectively store celery root for longevity, your pantry or basement can provide an ideal environment, offering the cool, dark conditions favorable for preservation. It’s important that these locations maintain a consistent temperature and don’t fluctuate with the daily weather.

Preparing Celery Root for Storage:

  • Ensure the celery root is clean and dry.
  • Leave the skin on to protect the root.
  • Do not wash the celery root before storage to avoid moisture, which could lead to decay.

Storing in a Pantry:

  • Find a spot in your pantry that stays consistently cool and isn’t exposed to light.
  • Avoid areas near appliances that generate heat or near windows where sunlight can alter the temperature.

Storing in a Basement/Cellar:

  • Choose an area of your basement or cellar that has high humidity and is cool, aiming for temperatures just above freezing if possible.
  • A root cellar is the best-case scenario for these conditions.

Wrapping Tips:

  • Consider wrapping the celery root loosely in aluminum foil or a breathable material. This can help maintain humidity around the vegetable without trapping excess moisture.

Shelf Life:

  • When stored properly in these conditions, celery root can last for several months.

Utilizing Celery Root

A hand reaches for a celery root, placing it in a cool, dark place for storage. The root is wrapped in a damp cloth to maintain freshness

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a versatile vegetable that can bring a unique flavor to both cooked and raw dishes. Understand how to maximize its earthy taste and crisp texture in your cooking endeavors.

Cooking with Celery Root

When cooking with celery root, you can enhance your recipes by incorporating this healthy vegetable in various forms. Its ability to absorb flavors makes it ideal for soups and stews. Consider these popular methods:

  • Roasted: Dice celery root into small cubes, toss with olive oil and your choice of herbs, and roast until tender.
  • Mashed: Boil celery root until soft, then mash it with butter and cream for a lower-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
  • Puree: Combine cooked celery root with stock and cream to puree into a silky and flavorful soup.

Roasting or boiling transforms the celery root, creating a tender texture and concentrating its flavor. Here is a simple table to guide your cooking methods:

MethodPrepCook TimeTextureFlavor
RoastedCubed, seasoned25-30 minutes at 425°F (220°C)Tender, crisp edgesCaramelized, deep flavor
Boiled/MashedPeeled, chopped20-30 minutes in boiling waterSoft, creamyMild, earthy
PureePeeled, cubed20-30 minutes in boiling water, then blendedSmooth, velvetyRich, concentrated

Raw Celery Root in Dishes

Celery root can also be enjoyed raw, adding a distinctive crunch to your dishes.

Try these ideas to incorporate raw celery root:

  • Salads:
  • Julienne or grate the celery root and add it to salads for a crisp texture and a peppery flavor.
  • Slaw:
  • Combine it with other vegetables like cabbage and carrot, and dress with a tangy vinaigrette.

Using celery root raw in salads promotes a crunchiness similar to that of other root vegetables, while its robust flavor can stand up to strong dressings and bold salad components.

DishPrepFlavorTextureHealthy Tip
SaladsJulienne/gratedPeppery, nuttyCrisp, refreshingAdd lemon juice to prevent browning
SlawShredded, mixed with dressingTangy, flavorfulCrunchy, slaw-likeUse yogurt-based dressing for a healthier option

By integrating celery root into your recipes, whether cooked or raw, you can discover new layers of flavor and texture in your culinary creations.

Understanding Storage Impact

Effective storage is crucial as it directly affects celery root’s texture, flavor, and shelf life.

Texture and Freshness

Keeping your celery root fresh involves maintaining its crisp texture. This requires a cool, humid environment to prevent the roots from becoming soft and developing soft spots.

Refrigeration is typically recommended.

Wrap the celery root in a moist towel and store it in the crisper drawer to retain its crispness.

Avoid areas where the vegetable might be exposed to ethylene gas, as this can accelerate decay.

Flavor Quality

The flavor of celery root can deteriorate over time, but proper storage helps preserve its earthy and nutty qualities.

Celery root should be stored whole, as cuts and peels can introduce areas that spoil faster.

Ensure it’s kept away from other produce that might impart strong odors or flavors as celery root can absorb these, affecting its natural flavor profile.

Preventing Spoilage

To prevent spoilage, inspect celery root for any signs of mold or rot before storage.

A dry, cool place, away from light and moisture, is ideal for those without a refrigerator, such as a root cellar.

If you notice discoloration or soft spots during storage, remove the affected areas promptly to prevent the spread of mold or rot.

Regularly check the humidity level if stored in sand to ensure it remains damp and not wet, averting spoilage.

Advanced Storage Tips

When storing celery root, also known as celeriac, maintaining freshness and flavor is key. Your approach can influence how well this versatile vegetable retains its quality, whether incorporated into soups or stews, or enjoyed as a low-calorie snack.

Refrigerator Tips:

  • Always wrap your celery root in a damp towel before placing it into the fridge. This maintains moisture without causing sogginess.
  • Set your refrigerator’s temperature to a cool, steady setting to slow down the degradation process.

Airtight Containers:

  • For cut pieces of celery root, store them in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to minimize air exposure.
  • If you opt to puree celeriac, store the puree in airtight containers. You can add a layer of plastic wrap touching the surface before sealing it to keep out extra air.

Freezing Guidelines:

  • Blanch diced or sliced celery root in salted boiling water, then cool it in an ice bath to preserve texture.
  • Dry the pieces thoroughly before transferring them to freezer bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible from the bags to prevent freezer burn.
TemperatureStorage MethodExpected Shelf Life
Fridge (32-40°F)Whole, in a damp towel1-2 weeks
Fridge (32-40°F)Airtight container, peeled/sliced3-5 days
Freezer (-0°F)Vacuum-sealed, blanchedUp to 8 months

Frequently Asked Questions

A celery root sitting on a kitchen counter next to a refrigerator, with a storage guide open on a tablet or cookbook

Storing celery root properly can extend its shelf life, allowing you to enjoy its unique flavor for longer. Understanding the right methods and conditions is crucial for preserving its freshness.

What are the best methods for storing celery root over the winter?

To store celery root over the winter, keep unpeeled roots in a cool, dark place, such as a cellar, layering them in dry sand to prevent shriveling and rot. This method can maintain their crispness until early spring.

Is it possible to preserve celery root by freezing it without blanching?

Freezing celery root without blanching is not recommended, as it can lead to texture and flavor loss. Blanching before freezing helps preserve its quality.

How should one store a cut piece of celeriac to maintain its freshness?

Wrap a cut piece of celery root in a damp paper towel and place it in a sealed container or plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer to maintain its freshness for a few days.

Can raw celery root be frozen for extended periods, and if so, how?

Yes, raw celery root can be frozen for extended periods. First, peel and slice the root, blanch the pieces for 3 minutes, plunge them into ice water, drain, and then freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags.

What are the optimal conditions for storing celery root in a refrigerator?

Store celery root in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper in a perforated plastic bag to allow air circulation. The ideal temperature is between 32-40°F (0-4°C), and it can be kept for 3 to 5 days.

How can one preserve celeriac root for long-term use?

For long-term preservation, celeriac root can be either stored in sand as mentioned for winter storage. Alternatively, it can be prepared and frozen following the blanching process, which can last for several months.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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