The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat celery. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What celery etiquette is

Celery etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat celery. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve celery to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat celery at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to eat and serve celery

What you should know about celery

Celery is a green vegetable. It belongs to the same family as carrots, parsley, and fennel.

Celery is long and slender in shape. It has a thick and crunchy stalk with leaves at the top. The stalks are light green in color, while the leaves are of a darker shade of green. Celery is firm and crunchy in texture, and mildly bitter and slightly sweet in flavor.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat celery

1) How to store celery

The ideal temperature to store celery is between 0°C and 2°C (32°F and 36°F).

You can store celery in the pantry, even if it is not optimal. Wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag. Eat it in 1 or 2 days.

It is best to store celery in the fridge. Wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil. Place it in the vegetable drawer. In the fridge, celery can last up to 2 weeks.

You can freeze celery. Before freezing, it is best to blanch it first. Then, store it in an airtight container. It will last for up to 8 months.

Store sliced or cooked celery in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for up to 3 to 5 days.

2) How to clean celery

To clean celery, remove the outer layer of the stalk first. Then, rinse celery under cool running water.

When celery has turned bad, it has a pungent smell and shows signs of wilting and discoloration.

3) How to cook celery

Celery can be eaten raw or cooked.

Raw celery is popular as a snack or in sandwiches and salads. Cooked celery is a common ingredient in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Other common ways to cook celery include sautéing, boiling, and roasting. Some popular dishes that include celery are Waldorf salad and chicken soup.

4) How to serve & present celery

Celery is appropriate for any occasion, from formal to informal meals. You can serve it as an appetizer or a side dish. Celery is not common as a main course.

Serve celery cold or at room temperature. You can serve celery on a plate or in a bowl. Present it with a serving fork or tongs.

You can accompany celery with dips like hummus, ranch dressing, or pinzimonio. Common seasonings include olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic.

5) Food and wine to pair celery with

Celery pairs well with flavors like lemon, honey, and vinegar. It also goes well with herbs such as parsley and thyme. Some good vegetable pairings include carrots and bell peppers. The best fruit pairings are with apples, pears, and tomatoes. It is best to avoid pairing celery with beets, cauliflower, and artichokes.

Celery goes well with cheese and dairy products. You can serve it with cream cheese or blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola. Avoid pairing celery with overly sharp or strong cheeses.

Celery pairs well with meats like chicken, turkey, and pork. You can also pair it with fish like salmon and tuna. Avoid celery with strong-flavored fish, such as mackerel.

The best wine pairings with celery are dry white wines. Popular options include Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Beer and sparkling wine also pair well with celery. Avoid pairing celery with heavy, full-bodied, or sweet wines such as Port.

6) How to eat celery

If celery is served in large chunks, it is polite to eat it with your fingers. Use a fork when celery is served in smaller bite-sized pieces. It is not polite to use a knife to cut celery at the dining table.

The leaves are edible. However, it is common to discard them.

Celery etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common celery etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Serving celery not properly cleaned or with the leaves on.
  • 8/10. Using fingers to remove strands from your teeth.
  • 6/10. Cutting it with a knife at the table instead of in the kitchen.

Additional information for properly serving celery

How many calories per serving?

Celery is low in calories. It contains only 16 calories per 100 grams. A medium stalk contains about 6 calories.

How to buy the best celery

A crucial factor in celery etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Celery is available all year round. However, the best time to buy it is from July to October, when celery is at its peak season.

Choose the best

Celery in commerce is usually fresh. However, you can also find it canned, frozen, or dehydrated.

The most popular varieties of celery in commerce include Pascal celery, Golden celery, and Red celery. Pascal celery is the most prized variety because of its flavor.

To buy the best celery, look for tightly packed stalks that are crisp in texture and fresh bright green in color. Avoid celery that is wilted, yellowed, or has brown spots.

Alternatives to celery

As a substitute for celery, try vegetables that have a similar crunchy texture and can be used in similar ways and recipes. Popular alternatives include fennel, jicama, bok choy, cabbage, and water chestnuts.