If you got excited at the farmers market and bought too much fresh produce, you might be wondering how to freeze asparagus.
Luckily, it’s super easy!
Asparagus is often pricey and hard to find year-round.
But if you can buy it in bulk when it’s in season, you’ll need to know how to freeze it for later.
And sure, you’re probably thinking, “how hard can freezing a vegetable be?”
But the truth is, there are a few steps to keep it from turning to mush.
So, keep reading for my straightforward directions on how to freeze asparagus.
How to Prepare Asparagus for Freezing
Asparagus is both delicious and nutritious. And proper preparation before freezing ensures you get all the flavor and benefits when it’s thawed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Step 1: Gather the necessary equipment, including a stockpot and baking tray.
You’ll need just a few simple things to prepare asparagus for freezing, and you will likely have it all ready to go.
Grab a stockpot (the size depends on how much asparagus you have) and a large bowl for blanching.
You’ll also need a baking tray, tongs, paper towels, ice, freezer bags, a knife, and a cutting board.
Step 2: Wash and prep the asparagus as you would for cooking.
Wash the stalks in water and drain off the excess water. Then trim the woody bits off the ends.
To trim properly, line the stalks on a cutting board and cut the ends off to make them all the same size.
Alternatively, snap the ends off with your hands. This allows the asparagus to break naturally but leaves them in different sizes.
Step 3: Organize the asparagus by size (thick and thin).
You’ll know that some asparagus stalks are thick and chunky, whereas others are skinny and almost floppy.
As you may have guessed, these two types will cook at different rates.
So, to avoid overcooking the thinner stalks, be sure to cook similar-sized stalks at the same time.
Step 4: Blanch the asparagus.
Blanching is a method used in professional kitchens. The idea is to pre-cook the food just a little, so it will cook faster when the time comes.
It also preserves the food – especially veggies – as it prevents loss of color and flavor.
If you’re unsure how to blanch veggies, no worries! I have step-by-step, totally bulletproof instructions for you below.
How to Blanch Asparagus
Blanching is a simple process but does require a few steps.
Here’s how to get it right every time:
- Bring water to a rolling boil in a stockpot or large saucepan, and add a large pinch of salt.
- While the water is heating, fill a separate bowl with water and ice, and line a baking tray with paper towels.
- Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 2-4 minutes (thinner stalks only need 2 minutes, and larger ones need up to 4 minutes).
- With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus from the boiling water and immediately plunge them into the bowl of ice water until they’re completely cool.
- Remove the asparagus from the water and lay them on the paper towel-lined tray to dry.
If you’re doing multiple batches, blanch similarly sized pieces, so they cook evenly. And don’t overcrowd the pot.
You may also need to add more ice to the bowl if it melts.
If you only have one small batch, start with the thicker stocks. Then add medium-thick pieces after 15 seconds and continue, ending with the thinnest.
The smallest ones only need 2 minutes.
How to Freeze Asparagus
Step One: Wash and trim the asparagus.
Gather the equipment – stockpot, bowl with ice water, slotted spoon, and a paper towel-lined baking tray – and prep all the asparagus before you start.
The French call this “mise en place.” It just means you have everything ready to go, so you don’t need to step away while cooking.
It’ll make the process (and all cooking, really) so much easier for you.
Wash the asparagus thoroughly, then trim the ends.
Finally, organize the asparagus by thickness so you can blanch it properly.
Step Two: Blanch the asparagus in batches.
This is a super important step.
If you don’t blanch the asparagus before freezing, it will lose its color, texture, and flavor.
Step Three: Freeze the cooled asparagus in freezer-safe bags.
You can freeze asparagus in whole spears or cut it into chunks. Either way is fantastic!
Start by patting the whole asparagus dry. This is essential to prevent ice chunks forming in the freezer.
Cut the asparagus into pieces if you prefer.
Next, lay the asparagus (pieces or whole) in a single layer on a baking tray. Pop that tray into the freezer (uncovered) for about an hour.
After an hour, remove the asparagus from the tray and move it into a freezer-safe bag or airtight container.
Store it in the freezer until you need it.
How Long Will Frozen Asparagus Keep?
Frozen asparagus will keep very well for two to three months. But it should remain quite fresh for up to eight months if it was properly blanched, cooled, and frozen in an airtight container. After that, you will notice a lack of flavor and freshness the longer it remains in the freezer.
However, you can keep it up to one year without worry in most cases.
Tips and Tricks for Freezing Asparagus
- Eat the skinny ones now and freeze the chunky ones for later. While that sounds like a bad horror movie, it’s the best way to preserve asparagus because the thicker pieces freeze better.
- Don’t forget to date the bag. This way, you know what asparagus to use first.
- Asparagus can get freezer-burnt pretty quickly, so be sure the container is airtight. You may even want to double-bag it.
How to Use Frozen Asparagus
You can use frozen asparagus straight out of the freezer!
However, you’ll want to use it in hot recipes. Think soups, risottos, quiches, stir-fries, stews, casseroles, etc.
It’s also great sautéed in olive oil!
I don’t recommend roasting it as it will turn mushy. The same goes for eating it thawed and raw.
More “How to Freeze” Articles to Check Out
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