Asparagus is not only easy on the eyes, but it’s good for the body too! It’s brimming with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, so I try to incorporate them into my diet as often as I can.
This colorful veggie is in season from February to June, and peaks in April. Which means you’ll find the freshest asparagus in spring. But you can find it year round, mostly imported from Central and South America.
But if you’re like me, I like to stock up when this veggie is at peak quality. However, if you just throw it in the fridge, it can go bad pretty quickly.
This is why you need to learn how to store this delicious and nutritious vegetable properly. That way, you get to keep it around longer and avoid wasting food and money.
Even though asparagus, like many other fresh produce, has a short lifespan, it should not stop you from stocking up on it when it’s in season or on sale.
There are several ways to preserve it for much longer, and I’m here to teach you all the tips and tricks!
How to Store Asparagus
The first thing you need to keep in mind is to never leave asparagus on the counter! Asparagus will become mushy and moldy at room temperature.
Next, asparagus stalks are always bound by rubber bands – don’t take those off. This will help keep them held together in storage.
Unlike other veggies that need to be stored in a dry area, asparagus needs moisture to thrive. Even though you’ll most likely find it in the produce section of the grocery, it’s much better to store someplace damp.
Should Asparagus Be Refrigerated?
With that said, yes, asparagus SHOULD be refrigerated. Whether it’s raw or cooked, asparagus will stay fresh longer in the fridge.
Place raw asparagus in a breathable plastic bag and store it in the fridge’s crisper drawer. But if you want better (and fancier) ways to store raw asparagus, stick around to learn more.
For cooked asparagus, just place the spears in an airtight container, seal, and refrigerate.
How Long Will Asparagus Last in the Refrigerator?
If you store raw asparagus in the fridge, you will extend its shelf-life for up to 2 to 4 days. Cooked asparagus, on the other hand, will keep well for 3 to 5 days.
Can Asparagus Be Frozen?
Yes, especially if you want to keep your asparagus around for many months. Whether raw or cooked, frozen asparagus will keep well in the freezer for up to 10 to 12 months.
If you plan on freezing asparagus, you want to get thicker stalks. The sturdier the stems, the better equipped they are for freezing.
Be sure they have no signs of discoloration. Browning is a sign of rotting, so there’s no point in preserving them at that stage.
For maximum shelf life, follow these steps for proper storage:
- Wash the spears and trim the bottom ends.
- Sort the asparagus according to thickness.
- Boil water and blanch the asparagus depending on thickness. Blanch the most slender stalks for 90 seconds. For medium stalks, give them 120 seconds. For the thickest ones, blanch for 180 seconds.
- Transfer the stalks immediately after blanching into a bowl of cold water.
- Drain the water and air dry the spears for 10 to 20 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel for good measure.
- Store the asparagus in serving-size portions in freezer-safe bags. Squeeze out excess air and seal the bags.
- Label the bags and freeze.
Tips and Tricks to Keep Asparagus Fresh Longer
If you want to keep your asparagus fresh longer, the first thing you need to do is to pick the freshest spears. You want to get slender stems as opposed to thicker stems. You want them to be the same circumference as a pencil, not a dime. The tops should also be dry and secured together.
The Paper Towel Method
Here’s a simple trick for extending the shelf life of your asparagus when storing it in the fridge.
- Because asparagus thrives in moisture, cover the bottom of the stalks with a damp paper towel.
- Place them in a breathable plastic bag.
- Refrigerate in the crisper for up to 5 to 7 days.
The Mason Jar Method
But, if you want to keep the asparagus around for 10 to 14 days, here’s an even better method:
- Cut half an inch from the bottom-most part of the stalks. Doing so will expose the fresh ends of the stems.
- Fill a mason jar with half an inch of water and place the asparagus in the jar – just like you would a bouquet in a vase. Cover the asparagus with a breathable bag.
- Pour out and refill the water every time it gets cloudy.
How do you know if asparagus has gone bad?
Fresh asparagus has firm stalks and green tips. You will know it’s starting to go bad once you see the leaves on the top falling off. The heads will also droop and become slimy and wet.
You can remedy this by cutting off the tops and eating just the stalks. But, then again, the tops are the tastiest part, so you’ll want to eat them before they turn bad.
After a while, the stalks will also start to become mushy and slimy. Once you notice black spots on the stalks, it’s time to go. Also, if it forms a rotten, acrid smell, just throw them away.