Many recipes for casseroles, salads and soups call for finely chopped, or minced, celery. Mincing is a basic cooking skill that isn't difficult but requires a knack with the knife and some practice. Select firm, light green celery with fresh, bright leaves and no bruises, discoloration or wilting. Avoid soft, limp celery.
Pull the celery stalks apart. Discard damaged stalks and then rinse the stalks thoroughly to remove sand and dirt.
Trim the leaves from the top of the stalks, then cut off the thick, white bottoms.
Cut the celery into uniform, 2- to 3-inch lengths, using a chef's knife, then cut each stalk lengthwise into thin strips about 1/8 inch in diameter.
Hold the strips with your non-cutting hand, then cut across the strips to produce evenly diced cubes measuring about 1/8 inch.
Gather the celery into a neat pile. Steady the tip of the knife against the cutting board, using the fingertips of your non-cutting hand. Grasp the knife handle in your other hand and use a steady rocking motion, with the tip remaining on the board, to mince the celery.
Move the knife a 90-degree angle. Continue to rock the blade back and forth until the celery is very fine. However, don't over-chop, as excessive chopping results in mushy texture and loss of nutrients.
- Utah State University Extension: Celery
- The Kitchn: What's the Difference Between Chopped, Diced and Minced Vegetables
- Good Housekeeping: Knife Techniques: How to Mince
- Ocean Mist: Celery: Preparation and Handling
- The Illustrated Kitchen Bible; Victoria Blashford-Snell
- The New Food Lover's Companion; Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst
- The Oxford Companion to Food; Tom Jaine, Editor.
- Iowa State University Extension: The Basics of Knives and Cutting Techniques
- Celery retains freshness in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Place the celery in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper or vegetable drawer.
- Refrigerate celery separately from fruit, because fruit releases gases that cause celery to deteriorate faster.
- If you mince too much celery, put the minced celery in a resealable plastic bag and store it in the freezer for use in cooked dishes. (Ref. 4)
- To protect the fingertips of your non-chopping hand, curl your fingers under your hand to keep them safely out of harm's way, then rest the side of the knife blade against your knuckles.
- If your cutting board slips, anchor it by placing the board on top of a damp towel.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.