What we once considered a delicacy due to its short springtime harvest, asparagus is now a common household veggie that is available all year round. This elegant looking vegetable is a tasty side to almost any meal but requires specific storage techniques to keep it fresh. We’ll show you how to store asparagus for short and long term storage.
Asparagus season is a time gardeners look forward to, but this veggie is readily available at your market at any time of the year. Unfortunately, fresh asparagus only lasts up to four days in the refrigerator on its own.
However, there are a few ways to extend the life of this vegetable. Store it in the fridge, freezer, or can asparagus for a healthy snack later.
Choosing, Preparing and Storing Asparagus
It’s important to realize that different vegetables store better in different ways. The best way to store russet potatoes is not the same as preserving asparagus.
It is easy to store asparagus in the fridge to prevent it from getting mushy. It is also possible to freeze these veggies for long term storage. There are even ways to store cooked asparagus using one of the many asparagus recipes.
We’ll show you how to pick the best asparagus with optimal flavor and texture, and how to prepare and store it for tasty and healthy side dishes.
Choosing the Perfect Asparagus
Storing asparagus only goes so far if the vegetable is not fresh and healthy. Choosing asparagus that sits on the store shelf too long means that it does not last as long in your refrigerator before going bad. Since the traditional asparagus growing season is relatively short, getting the freshest spears is important.
Does asparagus go bad? What about cucumbers? Do cucumbers go bad? All produce can spoil and how fast that happens depends on how you store it.
The only difference between thick and thin asparagus is that thick stalks are more mature than the thin variety, but both types are sweet and tender. There is also a variety of white asparagus with a softer texture and milder flavor.
Choose bright green or violet-tinged spears that are firm with compact, closed tips. Avoid stalks that are limp or have a woody appearance and spears with brown spots or discoloration.
Storing Fresh Asparagus in the Refrigerator
Storing asparagus in the fridge is the best way to keep asparagus fresh, as well as where to keep bell peppers, and depending on how you store it, the veggies last anywhere from three to ten days. Here are two ways to store asparagus in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Before storing fresh asparagus in the fridge, determine when you plan on eating your veggie. No matter how you decide to store the vegetable, it’s essential to remove the bottoms of the stalks first. Leave the rubber band in place and use a sharp knife to remove the ends.
If you are going to cook it within a couple of days, wrap the cut ends with damp paper towels and store the asparagus in a plastic bag in the fridge for five to seven days. If you don’t plan on eating the veggies for a week or so, treat the asparagus like fresh, cut flowers.
Pour an inch of water into a Mason jar and place the cut ends into the water. Place a plastic bag over the asparagus and store it in the fridge for ten to fourteen days.
How to Peel and Trim Asparagus for Storing
While there are many ways to cook and store fresh asparagus, it’s essential to know how to prepare this veggie for your next meal.
While it is not necessary to peel this vegetable to enjoy it, removing the outer layer eliminates the stringiness, as well as any sand hiding in the fronds. Peeled asparagus also cooks faster, with both the stems and tips cooking evenly.
Peel asparagus up to one day before cooking and cut off the dry white part of the stem. Wrap them in a damp paper toweling and place them into the crisper drawer of the fridge.
How to Store Asparagus in the Freezer
Can you freeze asparagus, and how long does it last? There are times when you get fresh veggies and aren’t able to cook them before they turn limp. Fortunately, it’s easy to freeze asparagus to ensure your vegetables don’t go to waste.
Thick spears of asparagus hold up better to freezing than thin spears. Cut off the woody ends and discard them. Fill a large bowl with water and ice and set it aside.
Boil a pot of water, slice the spears into one-inch pieces and place them into the boiling water for about one minute. Strain the asparagus from the hot water and put them into the ice water bath immediately. Allow them to sit for one minute before straining them again.
Place the veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Set the sheet in the freezer for one hour to flash freeze the asparagus. Transfer the vegetables into a freezer bag or airtight container and label it with the contents and date. Store them in this fashion for up to one year.
Cooking Frozen Asparagus into a Delicious Side Dish
Freezing asparagus is a great way to store the veggie long term, and making dishes with this frozen vegetable is quick and easy.
Three of the easiest ways to cook frozen asparagus are to boil, grill, or roast them. To boil the veggies, place a couple of inches of water into a saucepan and add the asparagus.
Put a cover on the pot and boil the veggies for a few minutes until they firm but tender. Strain the water and plate the asparagus. Top with butter and season to taste.
To grill the vegetables, toss the frozen asparagus with olive oil and place them directly to the hot grates of the grill. Turn the spears as they cook, and once they are evenly seared, remove the veggies from the grill and salt and pepper to taste.
If you prefer roasted asparagus, rub the spears with cooking oil and season to taste. Lay them on a baking sheet and set it in an oven preheated to 425°F. Bake the veggies for a few minutes until they are slightly charred and tender.
Proper Storage of Cooked Asparagus
Asparagus is so delicate and tasty that there are generally no leftovers after your meal unless you have picky eaters in the home. Fortunately, it’s easy to store cooked vegetables in the fridge for a few days.
Storing Cooked Asparagus
It’s essential to make sure not to overcook the asparagus if you plan on storing leftovers. Overcooked vegetables are mushy and almost inedible when reheated.
Place the leftovers in an airtight container to keep as much air out as possible. Place the container in the refrigerator for a maximum of five to seven days before eating them.
How to Can Asparagus for Storage
Canning is the best way to preserve asparagus for long term storage and is also only one way to preserve carrots for later consumption. Enjoy the tasty goodness and health benefits all year round when canning your favorite vegetables.
Cut the ends off the asparagus and wash them, and then pack them into the jars. Bring a pot of water to boil. Pour one teaspoon of salt into each quart-sized jar and then fill the jars with the boiling water, leaving an inch of headspace in each jar.
Screw the lids into place and then process them in a waterbath canner for 30 minutes, or follow your cookers instructions. Remove the jars and let them cool to room temperature before storing them in the pantry.
How to Make Quick Pickled Asparagus for the Fridge
Pickled asparagus is a tangy snack that is not only tasty but healthy as well. This quick pickled recipe is ideal for storing in the refrigerator to lengthen the storage time.
Boil a medium pot of water, and fill a bowl with water and ice. Cut the ends off the asparagus and place the spears into the boiling water for 15 seconds to blanch them. Remove the vegetables from the hot water and place them directly into the ice bath.
Drain the hot water from the pot and add a pint of water, and the vinegar, salt, sugar, and bring it to a boil before removing from the heat. Place the garlic cloves, dill, and mustard seeds into the bottom of the Mason jar and pack the asparagus spears in tightly.
Pour the cooled liquid over the veggies until they are submerged. Secure the jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator for at least three days before sampling. Quick pickled asparagus lasts three to four months in the fridge.
Pickled Asparagus for Long Term Storage
While refrigerator pickles only store in the fridge for about one month, canned pickled asparagus lasts up to one year if not opened. This recipe is excellent for keeping tasty pickles on hand all year round.
Cut the ends off the spears and slice them into three-inch pieces. Place the asparagus into a large bowl with 1/3 cup of salt and cover with water for two hours. Combine the vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, sugar, mustard seeds, dill seeds, and onions in a large pot and boil for one minute.
Pack the spears into the jars, and add a sprig of dill to each one. Pour the brine over the veggies, leaving a quarter-inch of headspace.
Put the lids on the Mason jars and process them in a boiling water bath for half an hour. Cool the jars completely and check that they sealed properly before storing the canned asparagus in a cool and dark place.
Making Spicy Pickled Asparagus
If you love your pickles with a little kick, then consider trying spicy pickled asparagus. These veggies have a zesty flavor and taste great as a side dish with any of your favorite grilled foods.
Cut the ends of the asparagus, making sure each spear fits in the jar. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Stir the liquid to dissolve the salt and sugar and then remove it from the heat.
Place a handful of dill, two cloves of garlic, half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a half tablespoon of the coriander seeds and peppercorns in each jar before packing them with the asparagus.
Pour the brine over the spears until they are submerged, and screw the lids on tightly. Place them in the fridge for two days before enjoying their tastiness.
Roasting and Storing Asparagus
The easiest way to cook asparagus is to roast it in the oven. It is quick and straightforward and gives the veggie an earthy flavor while maintaining its beneficial nutrients.
Put the trimmed asparagus in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Toss the veggies until they are coated and then sprinkle all of the seasonings into the mix.
Place the spears on a cooking sheet in a single layer and bake them in an oven preheated to 425°F for 14 minutes. Place the cooked asparagus in an airtight container and store in the fridge no more than three to five days.
How to Grill Leftover Asparagus
There’s nothing better than grilling your favorite foods on a summer afternoon, and adding a few grilled vegetables to the platter only makes it better.
Preheat your grill to high heat. Put the asparagus in a mixing bowl and coat them with the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and toss the veggies to cover them.
Place the spears on the grill for two minutes, flip them over and grill them for two more minutes before removing them. Store leftover grilled asparagus in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Using Asparagus Ends to Make Stock
After preparing your veggies for storage, it’s easy to think that the asparagus ends go in the garbage. Believe it or not, but the trimmed off portions of the asparagus are useful for making stock.
Toss all of the asparagus ends into a large pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring the veggies to a boil over medium heat, and continue cooking for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the asparagus to cool.
Place the ends in a food processor with a small amount of the cooking water and blend until smooth. Pour the stock into a jar and secure it with a lid. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Making Soup with Leftover Asparagus Ends
Not only is it possible to make stock with the ends and trimmings of asparagus, but many soups are a tasty way of utilizing those leftover pieces.
Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking for about ten minutes. Add the asparagus ends and cook until the veggies are soft. Add the broth, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the stockpot from the stove and add the spinach. Let it cool a little before pouring the soup into a blender. Puree the mixture, and then pour it back into the pot.
Reheat the soup on medium heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Sample right away or store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Ways to Store Asparagus by Making Canned Soup
If you want to liven up your pantry with more than whole vegetables, asparagus soup is easy to prepare and can for long term storage.
Fill your water canner with the recommended amount of water and bring it to a simmer. Remove the ends of the asparagus and discard them or save them for making stock. Slice the spears into half-inch pieces and mince the shallots and garlic.
Place a pan on medium heat, add a small amount of oil, and saute the shallots and garlic until translucent. Fill a stockpot with the broth and heat over medium heat before removing from the stove.
Fill the jars equally with the fresh cut asparagus, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the stock over the veggies, leaving an inch of headspace. Place the lids on the jar until they are finger-tight, and set the jars in the canner.
Lock the top and turn up the heat to bring the canner to a boil. Process the jars for 75 minutes using ten pounds of pressure. Turn off the heat and wait as the pressure to returns to zero before opening the vent. Allow the jars to sit for ten more minutes before removing and then let them cool overnight.
Fresh cut asparagus is healthy and savory, and these days it’s easy to enjoy this veggie no matter what the time of year. Storing asparagus the right way ensures that you enjoy the freshest tasting vegetable, whether you bought it last week or last month.
Store it in the fridge for the short term, freeze it for more extended storage, or create delicious vegetable recipes for long-term enjoyment.
Knowing how to store asparagus in the fridge, freezer, or by preparing tasty canned goods is an excellent way to enjoy this healthy veggie all year round, so please share these asparagus storage recipes and kitchen tips with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.