To most Americans, celery equals crunch, particularly when this vegetable is diced and added to chicken, tuna, or seafood salad. Celery, however, also plays a big role in mirepoix, the aromatic vegetable base that begins many soups, stews, and braises.
The most common variety of celery is called Pascal, a cultivated form of wild celery grown for its sturdy green stalks, or ribs. But you may find other varieties, especially at farmers markets.
1 medium rib = about 2/3 cup diced
Look for celery with ribs that are firm, not rubbery. Celery sold without its tough outer stalks is called celery hearts.
Pull away the outer most ribs (unless you are starting with celery hearts). These tougher ribs are best reserved for the soup pot. Trim away the very top and the base of the rib and wash well. Even interior celery stalks benefit from peeling away the fibrous strings, easy to do by running a vegetable peeler along the length of the stalk. Use the leaves as well as the stalks; the leaves have a more subtle celery flavor and can be used like an herb, similar to how you would use parsley.
Wrap celery in plastic and store in the vegetable crisper drawer in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 2 weeks.