I’ve been growing celery in the garden for a few years now, and it has become one of my favorite garden vegetables. It grows all summer long and into the fall, and you can harvest just a few stalks at a time – it keeps sending up new shoots to replace those that are removed.
A continuous supply of celery is much appreciated in my kitchen, where I use a lot of it. Like its cousin parsley, celery has a lot of flavor. It combines with carrot and onion to create the classic mirepoix blend, which I use liberally in most savory dishes. I use celery to flavor soups, sauces, and even chili.
We’ve been eating celery from the garden since June and, as of this week, the celery bed still looks like this:
In past years, a hard freeze meant the end to my fresh celery supply and a trip to the compost pile for the remaining plants. But not this year.
I realized I could be using our food dehydrator to preserve the celery for use throughout the winter in the form dried celery flakes. And, as it turned out, the process couldn’t be simpler.
In addition to a food dehydrator like the Nesco Gardenmaster I got Bob for Christmas a few years ago, the other tool that makes this task so easy is another item no vegetable gardener’s kitchen should be without: a mandolin.
The tools I used for this project
Swissmar Borner V-1001 V-Slicer Plus Mandoline (affiliate link)
Nesco FD-1040 1000-watt Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
How to make dehydrated celery flakes
1. Wash and drain 6-10 stalks of celery. Trim the bottoms of the stalks but keep the leafy end intact. It will be your handle when slicing the celery.
2. Using the thin slicing blade of a mandolin, slice the celery stalks crosswise until reaching the leafy end. Take precautions to avoid cutting yourself when using the mandolin, such as this cut-protection glove:
Microplane 34007 Kitchen Cut-Protection Glove (affiliate link)
3. Arrange the celery slices in a single layer on a food dehydrator tray. Because the slices dry to small flakes, line the tray with a mesh screen to keep celery flakes from falling to the bottom of the dehydrator:
Nesco MS-2-6 Large Clean-a-Screen for FD-1010/FD-1018P/FD-1020 Dehydrators, Set of 2 (affiliate link)
4. Set the dehydrator at 95°F (35°C) and dry for 24-48 hours.
Celery before drying:
Celery after drying:
Store the dried celery flakes in a sealed glass jar in a cool, dark place. Use them to season in soups, stews and sauces. They will rehydrate during the normal cooking time.