Why You Should Always Blanch Celery Before Freezing It

Any casual viewer of Kitchen Nightmares or the throng of reality shows that take delight in unearthing horrific kitchens knows there is a stigma against freezing food. It will taste less fresh, and when the water within the meat or produce thaws, it will ruin the texture of the food.

However, that's not entirely true, as Insider discovered in February 2022. You can freeze celery — yes, the food that Diet and Fitness Today lists as having a water content of around 94 to 95 grams per 100 grams. This is brilliantly helpful because, like other fruits and vegetables, celery tends to be sold in such large quantities that it spoils before you munch through it all.

The best way to preserve celery, Insider learned, is to blanch it first, then freeze it. This extends its lifespan by months. All you need to do is clean and cleave the celery into chunks, boil in water for two minutes, then quickly throw the hot celery into a bowl of ice water for a couple of minutes. The Spruce Eats suggests you add the additional step of laying the pieces on a sheet in the freezer for a few hours before putting it into bags. It should be noted, however, that this method cooks the celery, meaning that the frozen stalks won't suit recipes that require raw celery.

Other vegetables freeze well

So, that's celery dealt with. But surely you should be able to freeze other vegetables then, right? Well, according to The Posh Pescetarian chef Stephanie Harris-Uyidi, you can. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, she noted that, unlike celery, "most fruits and vegetables don't require any significant special handling outside of rinsing, chopping, and drying." Of course, there are exceptions. Strawberries should be de-stemmed, berries sorted, and apricots pitted.

However, there is a vegetable that chef Harris-Uyidi does actively prefer frozen: zucchini. "Pre-freezing will help prevent the vegetable from clumping together due to moisture," she explains. To prepare zucchini for freezing, you should follow a method similar to what The Spruce Eats recommends for celery. You cut up the zucchini "into thick coins or finger length sticks." Then, freeze them on a baking sheet for a couple of hours before bundling them into a ziploc bag. An easy enough solution with major future payoff. That's the kind of savvy cooking we can get behind.