Bitter celery can really dampen a meal, but if you learn how to buy or grow celery correctly, you can make sure to avoid it in the future. In this article, we’ll explore why your celery might be bitter and what you can do to make sure that it tastes up to standard:
Why is My Celery Bitter Tasting?
1. The product may have come into contact with substances like copper or arsenic while growing.
If you suspect your celery has been exposed to toxic substances, don’t eat it! The amount of arsenic in your food is regulated by the FDA and shouldn’t exceed 100 parts per billion (ppb). If you are concerned that there may be harmful levels of arsenic or copper in this product, don’t eat it. Take some time to test your soil and adjust your supplementation as needed.
2. It could be due to residues left by pesticides when they were sprayed on plants.
Buy or grow organic celery whenever possible. In the US, there are no federal limits on pesticide residues in fresh foods like celery or other types of produce – that’s left up to individual states and farms! It is enough to wash your vegetables under running water before use. This will help remove unwanted chemicals from them as well as lingering dirt and soil.
3. It may have been harvested too soon before it was fully ripened.
If you think that the reason for your celery tasting bitter is that it was harvested too early, then try buying more mature plants. You can tell when a plant is fully ripened by seeing whether its stalks are plump and fleshy in appearance. If they’re still skinny or stiff-looking with very little green color on them, then they are not fully ripened.
Another way to tell is by cutting them open. If they are still very pale green and white inside, the stalks were harvested too early. If you see a slight tinge of yellow color in their centers with some striation between outer flesh and inner core tissue, then your celery may be ready for harvesting.
Buy celery that is a deeper green in color, not pale and white. Celery harvested too early will be bitter tasting because of the higher levels of an organic compound called psoralen – it’s responsible for making plants like celery turn from pale to darker shades of green when they are exposed to ultraviolet light.
4. Salt deposits from irrigation can accumulate in the roots of celery plants.
If you think that the celery is bitter tasting due to salt deposits, then try washing it under running water. You can also soak it in a 1 to 1 ratio solution of vinegar and sugar for about 30 minutes before rinsing with clean water. This will help remove excess salts from them as well.
5. The plant was exposed to excess moisture or drought during growth.
Buy celery that has been grown under good conditions with the right amount of water delivered to them during growing. You will know this if you can see a thicker, woodier stem on your plants than their more slender counterparts. If they are very thin and pale-looking instead, then chances are they were exposed to excess moisture or drought.
6. The celery plant has been exposed to too much heat.
If you think that your celery plant was exposed to too much heat, then look at its leaves – they should be deep green in color with a slightly wrinkled appearance. If the leaves are instead yellow or pale-looking, this could indicate that the plant was exposed to too much heat.
Celery that has been exposed to excessive heat during growth or transport will have a wilted appearance and feel soft enough for you to easily dent them with your fingernail.
7. The celery experienced extreme weather during growth, such as a frost or freeze.
If you think that your celery was exposed to extreme weather conditions, then look at the leaf margins. If they are not dark green in color and instead appear pale or yellowish-white, this suggests that either a frost or freeze occurred during growth. Celery plants will wilt when exposed to frost as well because of cellular damage done to their tissues.
8. Your stalks need to be blanched
Blanching is a process that you can do to your celery plants before harvesting them. It involves covering the leaves and stalks of the plant with either soil or mulch so that they are not exposed to sunlight. This will prevent chlorophyll from forming in their tissues, which will result in a lighter-colored and sweeter plant.
9. The celery plant is overly mature.
If your celery plant is grown to be overly mature, this can also make its stalks taste bitter. Overly mature plants are often harvested well before they reach their peak in terms of flavor – this means that the sugars inside them have not had sufficient time or opportunity to develop into complex carbohydrates responsible for giving tasty vegetables their sweet flavors.
10. The celery plant is infected by a fungal or bacterial disease.
If you want to identify if the problem with your celery is due to disease, then look at its leaves. They will have brown spots or blotches on them if they are infected by fungal diseases like leaf blight. Bacterial infections of celery plants will cause leaves to have yellowish-brown spots, and the plant’s stalks might even be gummy or slimy if infected with bacterial soft rot.
How to reduce bitterness in celery
You’ll need to rinse your celery for several minutes with cold water, remove the base, and the leaves to reduce bitterness in your celery plant. Keep in mind that the leaves and the outer stalks are the most bitter part of the plant.
Cooking your celery will break down its starches and cellulose, which will result in less bitterness. Saute it in your meals to mellow its flavor.
Using other strong flavors in your celery dishes such as garlic, onions, soy sauce, tomatoes, and cabbage will help to balance the flavor of your bitter celery as well.
How to choose celery that isn’t bitter
One great way to avoid bitter celery is by knowing what to look for in the grocery store. When you’re choosing a celery plant, make sure that its leaves are fresh and crisp looking without any spots or browning. The stalks should be firm with tightly closed florets at the top of the stalk that ends in a pointy tip.
To gauge its bitterness, keep in mind that darker green celery will be more bitter, and light green celery will be less so. Aim for a lighter-colored plant or something in the middle to make sure that your celery isn’t bitter.