Celery Leaves Are The Bright Addition Your Stir Fry Needs

celery stalks bright green leaves
celery stalks bright green leaves - Ntco/Getty Images

If you've ever thought celery was too watery or lacking in flavor, then you need to think outside the stalks and turn to the oft-ignored part of celery: Its leaves. Too often, celery leaves are discarded -- sometimes they're removed at home, and other times they're removed before the celery is even sold. But there's no need to let these tasty greens go to waste. Next time you whip up a homemade stir fry for dinner, amp up the flavor with a bunch of powerful celery leaves.

Unlike the watery, subdued celery stalks, celery leaves are where the vegetable's strongest, most concentrated flavor lives. Dried celery leaves are often part of making celery salt (along with celery seeds) to create the most pungent celery flavor possible. Seeing as stir fry is often made with bold ingredients like salty soy, toasty sesame, and fragrant garlic and ginger, celery leaves are the fresh addition that can bring the whole dish together.

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How To Incorporate Celery Leaves Into Your Stir Fry

making stir fry in pan
making stir fry in pan - Fermate/Getty Images

When it comes to stir fry, celery leaves work best when incorporated towards the very end of the cooking process, like other leafy greens. This way, the celery leaves retain the most flavor. If they're added too soon, they'll wilt a bit too much and lose potency. But not every leaf on the celery stalk is created equal. The darker, outer leaves are quite tough and extremely strong, which could overwhelm your stir fry with too much celery flavor. Go for the inner leaves -- they're still flavorful, but milder and easier to work with. You want to think of the celery flavor from the leaves as a bonus, like a garnish, rather than the base of the whole dish.

Celery leaves work great in a Korean-style beef stir-fry, adding a burst of freshness to balance out the peppery, savory beef. And if you find you crave even more celery flavor, you can even reserve a few leaves to add as a garnish at the end. Pair them with or use them in place of parsley or cilantro leaves, as they all contain that fresh, brightening quality. They'll brighten up the stir fry in both flavor and appearance!

Other Meals Celery Leaves Can Liven Up

chopped celery with leaves
chopped celery with leaves - ArtCookStudio/Shutterstock

If you purchase a large bunch of celery, you may not need all the leaves for just one stir fry. Store the extra celery leaves by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and storing them in a sealed container. Keep them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and they should stay fresh for a few days. Similarly to the stir fry, you can add the extra celery leaves into another hearty meal like a soup or a stew. The stronger, darker leaves hold up great in soups and stews, as the leaves will have more time to simmer.

If you want to have a refreshing lunch, try adding the celery leaves to a salad. Celery leaves are a great way to mix up your usual salad greens, combining the crisp texture of romaine with the brightness of an herb and the slight bitterness of arugula. This more complex flavor cuts through any heavier toppings you choose to mix into the salad, like salty bacon and a hard-boiled egg for a cobb salad or rich, creamy crumbled cheese. Reduce your food waste while increasing and varying the flavor in your stir fry -- and other dishes -- by giving celery leaves a chance.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.