I only use celery as an ingredient. It’s part of the trinity, and gumbo wouldn’t be gumbo without it. While I was in Asia, I learned how useful and delicious celery leaves are, but I can’t find a local supermarket that sells un-trimmed celery. Is there a reason why produce wholesalers remove the leaves?

  • Related, but not a duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/23221/…
    – Stephie
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 21:28
  • Check if there is an international market near you. They'll often have produce more specific to the major ethnicities in the area. And when it's in season, try farmer's markets. I'd often get untrimmed celery there. (and if they sell trimmed celery, ask them if you can get some untrimmed for the next time ... they'll either be able to do it, or they're reselling wholesale produce, which can be against the law or against the rules of some farmer's markets)
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


You did not disclose your location, but here are some reasons:

  • It is an opportunity taken by the producer to increase the price. They can sell the product as-is, or process it further and sell it for more (ex. whole onions vs diced onions, the diced onions will be more expensive for the same amount). Sure they need to spend a little more time fabricating it, but they can also sell it for higher profit margins. This is called value added.
  • Where you live, celery leaves are simply not used as an ingredient. Before you went to Asia, did you ever hear of people adding celery leaves in their food? I've worked in restaurants for five years, and indeed we always cut the leaves off and threw them away. We didn't need to use it. Not once did we have a recipe that called for it.
  • It is the part of the celery that spoils the fastest. Even if the rest of the celery is fine and all you need to do is cut off the leaves, it is harder for the provider to sell celery with leaves that brown quickly versus selling celery without.
  • 2
    One more: Because most people, a least in many areas, do not use the leaves, cutting them gives the shippers less weight and size to ship for the same amount of product that will actually be used. The shipping is also easier as the stalks are typically trimmed to a uniform sizer for packing.
    – dlb
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 22:03
  • Many companies will bag the celery, so leaves tend to rot before they brown ... even less appealing. If not bagged, the higher surface area means faster moisture loss.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 17:07

America ships produce 3,000 miles. This cuts weight in the truck by removing the tops. They can ship more. The tops are used for cattle feed. Unlike Asia. Were you buy at the wet market produce raised less than 20 miles away. America uses celery seed as a spice. Asia the leaves. Americans don't have a pig to feed scrap to on there street or yard. They can charge more for the celery by trimming it. Make some of the feed sale. I agree celery leaves are great in soups. & you use less for the flavor you want.

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