Does Celery Need to Be Refrigerated? [Celery Storage Practices]

Not sure where to store fresh celery? Do you refrigerate celery or can you store it in the pantry?

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about storing celery. By reading it, you’ll learn the easiest way to store celery and what you can do to prolong its shelf life if needed.

Let’s jump right in.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Celery?

celery in hand

If you leave celery at room temperature, it’ll quickly soften and become limp within 3 to 5 days. So, while refrigerating celery isn’t a must, it’s the better way to store celery as it retains quality for about two weeks if you simply place it in the fridge.

In other words, stick it in the fridge unless you plan on using that celery within 1 to 2 days of buying.

Next, let’s talk about ways to keep your celery fresh and what the best setup for your needs is.

How to Store Celery in the Fridge?

Store your celery stalks unwashed in the fridge, loosely wrapped in plastic or in a ventilated bag. If possible, keep it in the crisper drawer, which will help it retain moisture for longer. Store this way, your celery should keep good quality for at least two weeks.

That’s the simplest way to store celery that yields good results.

So, if you buy celery in plastic bags, all you need to do is leave the bag unsealed or poke a couple of holes. This allows excess moisture and ethylene to escape, prolonging the shelf life.

(If you buy celery stalks prepackaged, those bags are usually ventilated, and you can just toss them in the vegetable drawer.)

celery in bag

Speaking of ethylene, store celery away from ethylene producers such as apples, pears, bananas, and more. Otherwise, its excess might turn your celery yellow and limp.


If you don’t have a plastic bag on hand, throw the celery in the crisper drawer as-is. It should still retain quality for at least a week. Plus, you’re doing Earth a favor by using less plastic.

Finally, don’t wash your celery before storage. Do that right before using or cooking. And if you already washed yours, dry it thoroughly before you place it in the fridge.

Knowing the basics, let’s talk about a method that can extend the shelf life of your celery by 1 to 2 weeks.

The Best Way to Store Celery

The best way to store celery is to wrap it with aluminum foil without crimping the edges and place it in the crisper drawer. Stored this way, celery lasts for up to four weeks.

The mechanics here are simple:

  • the foil keeps the veggie nice and humid, keeping the celery crisp
  • the unfolded edges allow ethylene gas and extra moisture to release

It’s a winning combination (shelf life-wise) but has drawbacks.

The first one is that the aluminum foil will end up in the trash can. You can reuse it a few times if you’re diligent, but you’ll discard it eventually because of normal wear and tear.

The second one is that it’s an extra thing to do. Sure, wrapping the celery might only take a minute or so, but that’s yet another thing to do. And if you’re like me, you already have enough on your plate.

That’s why I suggest going the extra mile only when you know you need it. Otherwise, leave the bag half-open, place it in the crisper, and call it a day.

Cut Celery

cut celery

The easiest way to store cut celery is to place it in a freezer bag or an airtight container and refrigerate it. They’ll keep quality for at least 3 to 4 days stored this way. For a few extra days of storage time, you can submerge cut celery in water to keep the stalks nice and crips.

Cut celery requires refrigeration, so your only choice is whether or not you’ll go the extra mile and submerge them in water. If you plan on using them in a day or two, that’s probably not worth it. But if you cut up the stalks with no clear plan in mind, it’s better to keep them submerged.

To ensure nothing funny happens while the cut celery is submerged, change the water every other day or when it’s no longer clear.

Celery Sticks

Keep your prepackaged celery sticks in the fridgeOnce you open the package, move the leftover sticks to a resealable bag or storage container and keep them sealed. They will retain quality for 3 to 4 days if sealed or for up to a week if you submerge them in water.

In other words, once you open the plastic bag, you store the leftover sticks the same way you store cut celery.

Cooked Celery

cooked celery

You should refrigerate cooked celery within 2 hours of cooking it and use the leftovers in 3 to 4 days. Once the celery is cooked, let the leftovers cool to about room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container or a lidded pot and place them in the fridge.

If you need more time than that, you can always freeze celery for at least a few months, assuming that the dish freezes well.

As usual, ensure you’re using clean spoons and don’t cross-contaminate the leftovers so your cooked celery doesn’t go bad prematurely.

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