Asparagus is a seasonal vegetable that is usually available in plenty during spring. Knowing how to store asparagus well is vital since this is the best time to get the best quality that will keep fresh for long. Asparagus can be stored raw or cooked.
Store asparagus in the fridge by standing them in a jar of water or by wrapping the ends with a damp paper towel for 4-7 days. To prolong its shelf life, blanch and freeze all year long.
How to store raw asparagus
Asparagus is one of the vegetables with short shelf life. They need to be well moisturized in order to keep fresh for long. While storing asparagus ensure to stand them with the band still on in order to secure the spears.
Storing asparagus while standing also enables them to absorb water easily keeping the stalks fresh as opposed to lying them which would damage the stalks. Here are the best ways to keeping your asparagus fresh for long.
The cold in the fridge keeps asparagus fresh for longer by helping them retain moisture for firmness. There are two ways of storing raw asparagus in the fridge making them stay fresh for 4-7 days depending on the way you choose as illustrated below.
Raw asparagus can be stored by either standing them in a jar of water or by standing them in a damp paper towel.
1. Refrigerate asparagus in a jar of water
- Trim off an inch from the bottom of the asparagus with the band still on.
- Stand the asparagus in a jar with 2 inches of water.
- Cover them with a loose plastic paper to prevent them from trapping flavor from other foods in the fridge
- Put them in the fridge.
Change the water if it starts to get cloudy. Asparagus will stay fresh for up to 7 days stored this way.
2. Standing in a damp paper towel
This method is suitable if you intend to use your asparagus within3-4 days
- Trim off an inch from the bottom of the asparagus with the band still on
- Dampen the paper towel
- Wrap the bottom of the asparagus
- Put them in the fridge
Always check the paper towel and change it if it starts to dry.
How to Store Cooked Asparagus
Cooked asparagus can be stored either in the fridge or freezer depending on how soon you intend to use them. While choosing this method of storage, blanching is recommended as it is a sure way to avoid overcooking. Blanching also helps asparagus to retain their flavor, color and texture.
Frozen asparagus will keep fresh for long compared to refrigerated ones.
Asparagus will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 12 months using the following steps.
- Rinse asparagus in clean water
- Sort them according to size. This is because thick asparagus take longer to blanch compared to thin ones.
- Trim them depending on the way you intend to use them in future
- In a pot of boiling water, put the asparagus and let them boil for 2-4 minutes depending on their size.
- Drain and cool them in ice water to prevent overcooking. This should take the same amount of time they took blanching.
- Portion and put the asparagus in freezing bags. Make sure to remove air before sealing the bags to prevent freezer burns.
- Put them in the freezer.
An alternative for step 6 above: If you want your asparagus loosely frozen, spread them in a tray and freeze for 2 hours then transfer them in a freezing bag or an airtight container.
Storing cooked asparagus in the fridge makes it easier when you want to use them since no preparation is needed. It also makes it easy to prolong their freshness in the freezer, once you realize their time in the fridge is running out and you don’t intent to use them in the near future.
To refrigerate your asparagus, use the above procedure on freezing to cut and blanch. Put them in a Ziploc bag making sure to remove air then store in the fridge.
This method will keep your asparagus fresh for 5 days.
How to choose fresh asparagus
When shopping for asparagus, you should always look for the following characteristics for freshness.
- Brightly green colored
- Closed and compact tips
- Firm straight stem
- Crisp spears
How to know when your asparagus is going bad
It’s easy to know when your asparagus starts to go bad by just looking at them.
- Tips turn dark green. Cut off the tips and consume the stalks soonest possible as they are still safe to eat. Here are signs that your asparagus is going bad.
- Wrinkled stalks. Asparagus will wrinkle up due to dehydration, this doesn’t mean they are unsafe to eat although they will not be crunchy.
- Stalks become limp. Asparagus are still safe at this point but should be consumed as soon as possible.
- Stalks become slimy and mushy. Asparagus should be disposed when they get slimy and mushy as they are unsafe to consume.
- Asparagus with odor. Get rid of smelly asparagus as soon as possible as this is a sign of rotting.