Both originate from the same plant, but they are distinct products with different uses.
What is Celery Powder?
Celery powder is made by drying celery leaves and stalks, then grinding them into a fine powder. It's primarily used to add celery flavor when cooking or season foods. The powder has a potent celery taste that works well in soups, salad dressings, rubs, casseroles, and more.
You'll also often see celery powder in recipes as a dry rub for meats before cooking. The celery powder helps cure and preserve the meat thanks to its high nitrate content. Besides meats, it also excels at curing other natural and organic foods. The nitrates in celery powder offer health benefits too.
Nitrates extend shelf life and prevent harmful bacteria growth when curing meats. Added nitrates have been linked to some cancers and health issues. So food makers use celery powder as a natural nitrate source to market "no added nitrates" on labels.
What is Celery Salt?
Celery salt combines ground celery seeds with regular table salt. It's easy to make homemade celery salt by blending celery seeds and salt yourself. Celery salt may have a similar flaky texture to sea salt, but don't confuse it with celery flakes, which are different.
Celery salt makes a tasty condiment or addition to salads, soups, but can also flavor various recipes. Brands vary in celery taste strength, so check ingredients before buying. The all-natural combo adds celery flavor without using artificial additives.
Celery salt can provide a touch of salty and celery taste to foods lacking in those flavors. While not a common pantry staple, it is a handy flavor enhancer to have on hand. And you can DIY it at home if you run out but have celery seeds and salt available.
Key Takeaway: Celery powder is a versatile seasoning made from dried celery that excels at curing meat. Celery salt combines celery seeds and salt for a flavored seasoning blend.
How Do Celery Powder and Celery Salt Compare?
Celery powder and celery salt share the same basis of dried celery seeds for taste. But the addition of salt makes them different products with distinct uses:
- Flavor profile: Celery powder has a potent, concentrated celery flavor. Celery salt's taste is similar but a bit more subdued from the salt content.
- Purpose: Celery powder is a multi-use seasoning and curing agent. Celery salt acts as a flavored salt blend for seasoning.
- Saltiness: Celery powder contains no salt. Celery salt has reduced saltiness since some salt is displaced by celery seeds.
- Celery taste strength: The ground seeds in celery powder have a very strong celery taste. Celery salt has a milder level of celery flavor.
- Uses: Celery powder excels at seasoning and curing. Celery salt is ideal as a finishing seasoning.
- Making meat shelf-stable: Celery powder can cure meats. Celery salt doesn't work as well for preserving meat.
Key Takeaway: The main differences include celery powder having a stronger flavor, versatility and uses for curing, while celery salt is a mildly flavored seasoned salt blend.
Can You Substitute Celery Powder for Celery Salt?
Both celery powder and salt impart celery flavor to recipes, but a few key points on substituting one for the other:
- Since celery salt contains salt, and celery powder does not, you'll need to add salt if using celery powder in place of celery salt. The ratio of 1 part salt to 1 part celery powder works well.
- When celery salt is called for, the saltiness level is carefully calibrated, so swapping in too much celery powder can make a dish overly salty. Start with 3/4 of the celery powder and salt blend, taste, and adjust upwards carefully.
- For meat curing and preservation, celery salt is not the best substitute for celery powder, since the nitrate content needed isn't there. Stick with true celery powder for curing.
- When seasoning dishes, celery salt can work in place of celery powder, keeping salt adjustments in mind. Limit use to avoid over-celery flavors.
Key Takeaway: Celery powder can substitute for celery salt by also adding salt. For curing meat, only true celery powder will work. Use celery salt carefully in place of celery powder when seasoning.
Can You Use Celery Salt Instead of Celery Powder?
Like celery powder, celery salt can be used to impart a celery taste when cooking. However, there are some important caveats:
- Celery salt contains salt, so you can't increase the celery flavor without also increasing saltiness. This limits how much you can use it in place of celery powder.
- For meat curing, celery salt is not an adequate substitution for celery powder. The nitrates needed for preservation are not present.
- When seasoning savory dishes, celery salt can work but monitor salt levels. The set celery seed to salt ratio may over-salt a dish if you try to up the celery taste.
- Start by using 3/4 of the amount of celery powder called for, replace it with celery salt. Taste and adjust carefully not to overdo the salt.
- To cure meats or where celery powder is needed for more than flavor, celery salt won't cut it. Stick with true celery powder in those cases.
Key Takeaway: Celery salt has limits for substituting celery powder due to its set celery seed/salt ratio. It can work for seasoning if salt adjustments are made. Don't use it for curing meat.
When Should You Use Celery Powder vs. Celery Salt?
Use celery powder when:
- You want a very potent, concentrated celery flavor for soups, dressings, rubs, etc.
- Curing and preserving meat using natural nitrates.
- Making a seasoning where you control the salt and celery flavor levels.
- You need the versatility to use more celery taste without upping salt.
Use celery salt when:
- You want a milder level of celery flavor as a seasoning.
- Adding a touch of salt and celery taste to finish a dish.
- Making drinks like Bloody Mary's where celery salt is preferred.
- You need a set ratio of celery seed to salt for consistency.
- As a flavored salt alternative to plain table salt.
Key Takeaway: Celery powder excels when a strong celery taste or curing meat is needed. Celery salt is ideal for mild celery flavor or when the set celery seed/salt ratio works best.
Can you make homemade celery powder?
Yes, it's easy to make DIY celery powder at home. Wash and dry fresh celery stalks, leaves, and other bits. Dehydrate them completely then grind into a fine powder using a high-powered blender, food processor, or spice grinder. Store the powder in an airtight container.
What's the shelf life of celery powder?
Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from light, celery powder lasts 6-12 months before losing potency and flavor. For the longest shelf life, store celery powder in the fridge or freezer.
How do you make celery salt?
Making homemade celery salt takes just 2 ingredients: celery seeds and table salt. Use a ratio of 1 part celery seed to 1 part salt. Combine the salt and seeds and grind together until blended thoroughly. Use a spice grinder for best results.
Can you substitute dried celery flakes for celery powder?
Yes, dried celery flakes can work as a celery powder substitute for seasoning foods. Since the flakes are made from dehydrated stalks and leaves, they don't contain the nitrates needed for curing meat like celery powder. But they mimic the flavor well.
What vegetables or herbs make a good celery powder substitute?
For flavor, try chopped celery, parsley, fennel, dill, or a blend of vegetables and herbs. For curing meat, commercial curing salt blends can replace celery powder. Adding some celery flakes or juice to the curing blend approximates the flavor.
Celery powder and celery salt both impart savory, celery taste to recipes. While they derive from the same source, their differences in salt content, flavor profile, and purpose make them suited for distinct uses.
Celery powder works well as a concentrated seasoning across many applications, especially curing meat. Celery salt acts as a milder-flavored seasoned salt alternative that conveniently combines celery seed and salt.
Both have their place in the kitchen. Choose celery powder when you want potent celery taste, versatility, and meat curing ability. Opt for celery salt when you need a flavored salt with mellower celery notes. And make adjustments when substituting one for the other in recipes.