Say you go to a restaurant and order buffalo wings. The wings come with celery and bleu cheese. The celery tastes amazing.

At home, you cut celery and store it in water in the refrigerator, and eat it. It does not taste amazing.

What are the possible reasons why there is a difference in taste between the two?

  • 3
    Because they do something more to it than just cut and store it water in the refrigerator, and/or you eat it in combination with buffalo wings and cheese? Any dressing, any seasoning, will change it. Options are limitless. Jun 19 '17 at 4:56
  • What kind of seasonings might they add to the water? It's not just wing places, any restaurant with celery is better. Jun 19 '17 at 5:04
  • 3
    People store celery in water in their fridge?! What's the point - I'm serious too. I've never kept celery in water and don't have trouble keeping it in good condition.
    – Jude
    Jun 19 '17 at 7:37
  • Are you dipping it in bleu cheese?
    – paparazzo
    Jun 19 '17 at 10:10
  • 2
    @Cindy is on mark in my opinion. If you need to do the water method, then they celery is simply old. Fresh. sprinkled with cold, fresh water to stay that way. If it wilts a little, fresh cut refreshed in an ice water bath for a few minutes and you likely will have better results. It will be tough to match restaurant freshness on this item from a regular market though as you do not know how long they have stored it before you bought it.
    – dlb
    Jun 19 '17 at 14:37

There could be two factors involved. First, the freshness of the celery. Restaurants, especially those that serve large amounts, are going through a lot of product. This means that you are more likely to get really fresh celery.

Next, storing in water is very likely an issue. I would suggest buying celery within a day or so of when you plan to use it. Wash and dry it thoroughly. Then trim and cut to your desired size. Then immediately place the celery in a plastic container or zipper bag and place in the refigerator until serving.

Each time you take it out for serving, remove the amount you plan to use and return the rest to the refrigerator. The 'leftover' celery should remain fresh and crisp for several days.

  • 2
    Storing in water is an often recommended method.I find that it has a very degrading effect of the product though. Yes, it keeps it more crisp, but at a cost. To me, the water turns slimy, which is a bad sign, and not very appealing. To store this way, stalks normally need to be cut, something which may allow it to stay crisp, but not fresh. The cuts brown, which to my eyes and tastes equate to rotting. And, it inflates with water, so waters down the taste, with a not very clean water. Frankly, if I do not have actual fresh, I would rather it slightly wilt and refresh it with ice water.
    – dlb
    Jun 19 '17 at 14:33
  • @dlb : you need to change the water every 2-3 days, and it's best to swap containers or give it a quick cleaning ... or yes, it will get slimy. But you can also store it in a damp paper towel, then placing that in an unsealed plastic bag
    – Joe
    Jun 19 '17 at 20:05

This is two years past, and I'm sure the original poster and replyers have long forgotten about this thread. But I wanted to leave my comment in case any new readers came across this...

Different brands of celery have different flavors. (Also, there are a few different types of celery lmao but let me not confuse you) Mostly, it's in the brands. I don't believe each brand grows their "own strain", not at all! I just think you know what to expect from each brand. Think of strawberries for example, they're the easiest ones to imagine. I'm sure at most grocery stores, you'll see a sale like $2.99 per unit for example... But when you look down at the strawberry section, you'll probably see more than one strawberry company there. You'll see 50 that say "Cascadia" or another 30 that say "Something Farms" etc etc and maybe even a bunch more called "Organic Something"... And if you look closer you'll see that one of the brands has massive strawberries... Or you'll remember that one of the brands always has really particularly sweet strawberries.... That's what I mean.

With celery... It's easy to forget, and it's almost imperceptible. I ONLY noticed it from the celery juicing craze from 2018-2019. My local grocery store was having a sale (the craze was dying down end of 2019). I was buying 5 bunches at a time and the brand had a purple logo. Each bunch was giving me about 12-14oz. It was also really salty, earthy and delicious.

One day, I see there's a couple different brands there. All still the same sale price. The other brand is a well known company with a dark green logo, and I get the idea to just compare them for fun. Big mistake lol. Each bunch is giving me about 18-20oz. Which you would think is great!!! The stalks are lighter green, huge and fat, But UGH the flavor is watered down.... And so I can't tell... Are these fresher, full of more water.... Or are they seriously LACKING in any nutrients??? Are they better or worse?? And all I could think was DANGIT, I miss the full flavoured salty celery juice of that other brand. I got used to my weird picklejuiceflavoredthingamajig hahaha

I started thinking.... This one is probably the one you would get at a diner/restaurant with no flavor that goes super great dipped with ranch or blue cheese.

And having worked in restaurants for over 10 years, one thing I know is that state laws kinda control where we get our produce from. Our selections are limited. So if we get celery from somewhere.... It'll probably be the same celery supplier/brand for years to come. Also there's a HIGH chance that the neighboring restaurants (ALL across the state, actually) will be using the same supplier... Not guaranteed. But they (the supplier) will put their bids in, and there's a good chance they'll win all of our restaurants' businesses.


Slimy water it surely a sign of storing for to long.

Personally in my cheffing days we always stored our prepared celery in water, it helps stop the veins from going brown.

The other step we/I have always done is peel the outside skin. It tends to be woody and stringy whereas the rest is quite soft. Also when peeling you will find any woody veins will also be pulled away.

By peeling I mean cutting and pulling, this is really hard to explain but I'll try...

Cut with a knife while holding the celery towards your thumb, but not quite all the way through. Then pull. Most of the skin will pull away in a sort of ribbon. Continue around till it's all gone.

I imagine the process of peeling and storing in water will remove some of the bitterness Of The celery, leaving a sweeter product behind.

Also.. restaurants may well get through a lot more celery than the average household. However, we also buy in far more bulk (30 heads for a week kind of bulk). It doesn't by any means, mean it's fresher than you'd get from your local shop/supermarket.

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