Asparagus is one of the vegetables packed with the most nutrients. Plus, it's versatile that you can add it to various dishes, so you might be thinking of storing some for the rest of the year while it's still in season. If you’re curious about how to have a stock load of fresh, edible asparagus, we researched the best ways you can accomplish that.
You can freeze both fresh and cooked asparagus, as with most vegetables. Freezing is actually the best way to store and keep your asparagus for a considerable amount of time. However, there’s a catch. Once you freeze asparagus, you will no longer experience the same crisp crunch that you get from fresh asparagus, which makes them a good addition to your pasta.
Asparagus is about 90 percent water, so the tendency for its firmness to reduce is high when frozen. Freezing ruptures the cell wall of the asparagus, which results in a slushy texture when you thaw it. However, compared to canning, freezing still fares better at preserving asparagus. To learn more about how freezing can help you keep this nutritious spear-like veggie past the Spring season, continue reading this article for the best steps you can follow when freezing asparagus without jeopardizing most of its original properties.
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What is the best way to freeze fresh asparagus?
If you have a considerable amount of asparagus and would like to preserve it longer, here is the process you should follow:
1. Prep the asparagus
Wash asparagus thoroughly to remove debris in each stem. Then, sort through each spear to remove already bendy or soggy ones, all the while trimming each tough, woody stem either through bending it or cutting it with a knife. Finally, end your preparation by running the asparagus under cold water.
2. Blanch the Asparagus
Immerse asparagus in a large pot of hot, boiling water for around 2 to 5 minutes. When enough time has elapsed, pour the blanched spears into a strainer or colander to drain the hot water. Immediately run the asparagus on cold water to cool it down and stop the cooking process. Better yet, soak it in a bowl of cold water.
Once the asparagus cooled down, remove it from the running water or bowl of cold water, and pat it dry using a kitchen napkin or a clean cloth.
3. Flash Freeze
The next thing you should do is to spread the blanched asparagus in a tray, ensuring that each spear does not overlap the other. Cover it with plastic, then let it freeze in the fridge for two hours.
Why do you need to flash freeze? Flash freezing will help prevent each asparagus stem from sticking to each other when you put them in the container and freeze it.
4. Pack and Freeze
Get a freezer bag and pack the asparagus in portions. Use a vacuum seal to make sure there is no excess air inside the bag. This will help retain the texture and taste of the spear veggie.
Put the freezing date on the bag. Lastly, place the asparagus bags on the bottom part of the freezer if you want to keep them for a longer period. Otherwise, put them in a convenient area you can easily reach.
Can You Freeze asparagus without blanching it?
As you’ve read in the steps above, it’s essential to blanch your asparagus if you want to store your asparagus longer.
Blanching means you have to dip any vegetable in boiling water for a specified amount of time, usually not more than 5 minutes. This process helps in preserving the texture, flavor, and nutrition of vegetables. Additionally, this lowers the risks of vegetables getting compromised because it stops the enzymes from growing.
If you directly freeze asparagus without blanching it, you risk making it dull in both flavor and texture when you cook it.
how long does asparagus last frozen?
Asparagus can last for around 10 to 12 months in the freezer if properly stored by following effective steps.
However, do remember that asparagus is like any other vegetable when frozen. It loses crispiness because when the water inside freezes, it expands, damaging the cell walls that basically make the asparagus snappy and crispy when fresh.
It’s probably the reason why most people choose to consume asparagus within days of getting them. And everyone will agree that the best time to eat asparagus is when it’s fresh.
how long does asparagus last in the fridge?
But sometimes, you just wish to keep some for the following day’s meal, right? Fortunately, fresh asparagus can last for about 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator before it loses its unique, flavorful texture.
One trick to make asparagus last longer in the fridge is to trim the bottom of the stem, then putting it in a bowl or glass of water, which will help in maintaining its freshness.
How long will it last if cooked? It's dependent on one major condition: storage.
Generally, it can last for 3 to 5 days when properly stored, meaning it was completely cooled down, stored using an airtight container, and put inside the fridge within 2 hours of cooking.
To make them last longer in the fridge, refrigerate both fresh and cooked asparagus using airtight containers or vacuum-sealed food storage bags.
Does cooked asparagus freeze well?
Cooked asparagus freezes well. For example, asparagus soup can last at least 6 months in the freezer.
But it can be shorter or longer than that. The ingredients added to the asparagus can affect how well and long it can stay edible. If you added cream, dairy products to your asparagus recipe, then you might need to consume your asparagus within a much shorter time frame.
How do you thaw asparagus?
We’ve been talking about freezing asparagus, so basically you might be thinking that it’s natural to thaw frozen asparagus before cooking it. But you’ll be sorry if you do.
Thawing asparagus before cooking is ill-advised because it makes asparagus soggy. In addition, you risk totally removing its unique flavor that might have already decreased because of freezing.
We suggest that you cook it frozen when you want to have a hearty meal of frozen asparagus. Although it won’t have its original texture, at least you won’t be eating totally mushy asparagus spears.
how do you know if asparagus is bad?
Asparagus naturally goes bad regardless if it’s fresh, frozen, or cooked.
You can easily identify that the best days of your fresh asparagus are long gone through looking at the tip, the best part of the asparagus. When asparagus is already bad, the tip becomes dark green and fives a mushy texture when you touch them.
Here are some signs you should watch out for to know your asparagus is no longer edible and time to throw in the bin.
- Molds start to appear on the stems.
- The spear has already become soggy or slimy.
- The stalks begin to wrinkle.
- It has turned yellow and bendy.
- It starts to exude an off-putting, rotten smell.
For cooked asparagus, the putrid smell that will come from it will easily give away that it's long past its heyday.
the bottom line
You can store your stock of asparagus in the freezer for about 8 to 12 months as long as you follow the effective steps detailed in this article. With the right asparagus storage practice, you can keep on getting the added health benefits of asparagus all year round.