Have you ever bought asparagus and wondered how to maintain its freshness for longer? I can imagine the shock on your face when you went to make a salad from your assumed fresh bunch only to find them dull-colored with mold spots.
The best way to store asparagus is by dipping the freshly-trimmed stems in a water vessel and enclosing the tips in an airtight plastic bag before refrigeration. Knowing how to store asparagus helps you get more nutritional value from these delightful light-green spring vegetables.
How to Differentiate Fresh Asparagus from Non-fresh Asparagus
The best way to maximize the life of your asparagus is by getting fresh bunches. You want to figure out how to tell fresh asparagus from bad ones. Below are things that should be on your checklist when you go asparagus shopping:
Fresh asparagus is bright green in color, with whitish hues at the base of its stalks. On the other hand, non-fresh asparagus has a dull color. It is either dark green, dark purple, or black. You want to avoid the latter.
Fresh asparagus is soggy and has strong, tender stems. Its stalk base is rigid with the crown being pointy and snappy. In contrast, non-fresh asparagus looks flimsy, brittle, and dry.
While fresh asparagus is generally clean-looking, non-fresh bunches have black mold spots on the stem.
Fresh asparagus has no smell. However, asparagus that is beginning to spoil has a distinct foul odor.
How to Store Fresh Asparagus
Follow the following steps to store your fresh asparagus like a pro;
Step 1. Clean the Base of Asparagus Stalks
Even though hygiene is vital, avoid cleaning your whole asparagus before storing it. Washing asparagus before storing makes them go bad fast. This step is only necessary if the asparagus comes covered in a thick layer of soil.
If you are a clean freak, it can be tempting to want to rinse the whole asparagus under running tap water. Instead, gently brush off the loose layer of earth at the base of these asparagus stalks.
Step 2. Band the Asparagus Bunch
Using a rubber band, hold together your bunch of asparagus. It helps snap the asparagus in position for the next step.
Step 3. Trim Off the Stalk Ends
Put the asparagus stalks on your clean countertop and chop an inch off each stalk end. If it is hard to tell where you should chop, bend the asparagus stalk at the woody base as though you want to break it. Slice away at its snapping point, which happens to be where the woodiness on the white stalk ends.
Step 4. Place in a Glass Jar with Cold Water
Select a clean wide-mouthed glass jar and put cold water to about an inch high. I prefer glass to plastic jars as they insulate the asparagus from extreme cold in your fridge.
Place your bunch of asparagus in the jar, immersing all the stalk bases in the water in the glass jar. Avoid overcrowding your asparagus stalks. If all the branches do not fit in one mason jar, use more jars.
Step 5. Cover the Crown with a Plastic Bag
Using a clean plastic bag, cover the crown of your asparagus to form a tent-like housing, with the plastic bag going over the glass. Loosely secure the plastic bag with the same rubber band. Check to ensure that the asparagus has enough room for aeration.
Step 6. Place your Asparagus in the Fridge
Since you should store these fresh asparagus in a cool place, put it in your clean fridge. Avoid the higher shelves of the fridge since they may freeze your asparagus. Remember to check the water and swap it when it appears cloudy.
How to Briefly Store Your Fresh Asparagus
If you want to keep asparagus fresh for up to one or two days, trim an inch off its ends and shawl in a moist paper towel. Place this wrapping in an airtight plastic bag before you put it in the fridge.
How to Store Blanched Asparagus
Blanching asparagus assists in preserving its color, nutritional value, texture, and taste. It also shortens its cooking time as it will be already somehow half-cooked.
Start by washing your asparagus under cold running water. Slice off about an inch of the wood-like stalk base and peel off its tough skin. Add water to a boiling pot, bring it to boil, then add your asparagus.
Blanch your asparagus for two to three minutes before draining the water. Transfer your blanched asparagus to a container with cold water to halt the cooking process. Use your clean kitchen towel to pat dry your blanched asparagus before placing it in a labeled zip lock bag.
Seal your asparagus in the zip lock bag(s) and put it in your freezer.
For How long Can Stored Asparagus Stay Fresh?
Uncooked asparagus can last between three to seven days. Asparagus refrigerated in moist parchment paper can maintain its freshness for up to two days.
On the other hand, the one in a mason jar can remain fresh for up to five days. You can increase its shelf life to ten days by changing the water when it starts to be cloudy.
The best way to store asparagus for a long time is to freeze it in a blanched state. Frozen blanched asparagus can last up to one year.
Ways to Tell If Your Stored Asparagus is Going Bad
The easiest way to tell if your stored asparagus has spoilt is if the tips get dark, mushy, and soft. The asparagus stalk may become frail, wrinkly, and slimy. The latter happens if asparagus got sealed too firmly in the plastic bag or if excessive moisture found its way and made it too wet.
Another way to tell if stored asparagus is going bad is when it begins producing a foul smell. It is a sign that the asparagus is in its decomposition state. When stored asparagus begin to have molds, it is time to toss it away.
Knowing how to store asparagus permits you to have it fresh for approximately up to one week. If you are a fan of blanch-storing vegetables, you can freeze them and have up to one year of nutritional value from your asparagus. Still, check for warning signs such as darkening, wobbling, and molding on the asparagus.
In short, here is how you should go about storing asparagus:
- Clean the Base of Asparagus Stalks if need be
- Band the asparagus bunch
- Trim off the stalk ends
- Place in a glass jar with some cold water
- Cover the crown with a plastic bag
- Place your Asparagus in the fridge
- Change the water if it begins to cloud.
Do you have any questions concerning how to store asparagus? Please comment below and I will be happy to answer.