Prevent celery wasting away

Woman vs Celery – How to Prevent it Wasting Away

at home celery food waste garbologist packaging reduce waste save money Nov 24, 2022

You bought the unpackaged celery! Yay. Go you good thing, but there's a few things to action now. 

This week down under, the National food waste summit is in action, following intense domestic focus on soft plastic.

Food waste and packaging are a conversation in tandem.

Buy sans packaging? That’s great, but we take on the responsibility of ensuring it's consumed in full.

After seeing a LinkedIn post comparing packaged and unpackaged celery, it reminded me that whilst I buy unpackaged celery, there’s an art to making sure this beast of a veggie doesn’t rot away as a result.

If we don’t plan - our good intentions merely become a cheap thrill in the supermarket aisle as food waste contributes to climate change.

Left uneaten, that beached whale of salty cellulose rots in our fridge, mocking our sustainability efforts.

So here's how I avoid the unintended consequences of a well-meaning environmental initiative - the principles can be applied to many other products, enjoy!


Getting Started


I find the issues being: they aren’t nice to eat in large quantities - coupled with being absolutely huge (over 1kg). That being said, if you have a recipe for celery pie or soup that’s palatable – I am open to suggestions.

So depending on your household size - you’ll likely have too much for your immediate needs. 

When you get it home, don’t put it straight in the fridge, that’s your first mistake.


A whole celery is like a bomb, red wine stain or the media – it must be dealt with imminently and tactfully, before it becomes a problem.

If you absolutely must fridge it, set a phone reminder for when you’ll address it later. First wash it thoroughly but don’t pull it apart. Have your meal planner at the ready, and attack it from perishability perspective – starting with the leaves.


First chop the whole thing lengthways about 2/3 of the way along, to give yourself a safe and manageable load. Move the base with main stalks to one side.

Remove the leaves – use in juices, as garnish in or on soup*, or even as a base for meal in place of stalks. Don’t forget to seek out the young leaves hiding in the middle - as these will deteriorate first.

Smaller pieces

Remove and dice up those straggly random smaller pieces – these are also good in bases as they’re lame for dipping. Refrigerate or freeze labelled by themselves, or I make up these packs with carrot and red onion as quick whole bases for Bolognese, ready to roll after a hard day of bin fighting.

Pictured: Bolognese starter - store in reused bag from frozen berries.

Hint: Recipes often call for celery as a number of ‘stalks’ - one stalk is about ½ to one cup – so store and label them that way, so you’re not scratching your head over portions later.

Other ideas: Complement a chicken roast, make some caponata or get your Basil Fawlty on with some Waldorf salad.

Related hack: to warrant using more celery, make more Bolognese than you need, and use later in the week in lasagne, or freeze and have on toast as a weekend snack with cheese. Yum.

Larger stalks

This is the part you can keep in the fridge for a bit longer: couple of options here:

- Cut a few off to have ready for snacking with peanut butter, hummus or tzatziki etc : a healthier option than scoffing half a packet of chips of biscuits when you finally get off meetings at 2PM on a Tuesday. Can also be used on a cheese platter in place of carrots or cucumber sticks.

- Leave a few attached to the base as they’ll last at least a week, but have a meal planned to use them, e.g. Green minestrone, Shepherds pie.

The last trick to execution is meal planning – see circled all the instances in the coming week my big ol' celery will be used – I don’t want to eat it consecutively day after day, but with careful planning you can weave it through the week’s funtivities.

And yes! That’s the Freecycle whiteboard from my article 3 weeks ago in action.



Really just got too much? Hate freezing? Don’t batch cook? Give some of the big stalks to a neighbour, friend, colleague – someone! I know you can do it.

My (packaging free) wrap up

This has been the lazy person’s guide – kitchen lovers use celery in all sorts of creative ways e.g. dehydrate and use as soup stock, make gratin etc – not my vibe but each to their own, of course!

So next time you proudly escort that rudie nudie celery home, take charge and enjoy the lot, because aside all else - you paid for it!


Bel is a devoted Circular Economist, loves systems thinking and needs to improve her handwriting if it's going to be on show like that.

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