Asparagus only stays in season for a couple of months out of the year. Although it’s one of the more expensive veggies, taking advantage of a sale and buying more fresh asparagus than we need happens to all of us at some point. When you know how to tell if asparagus is bad, it makes all the difference in getting bang for your buck or throwing money in the trash.
Samantha Chamberlin, a skilled practitioner in food storage and preservation, advises “To keep asparagus fresh longer, store it in the fridge with a damp paper towel and a loose plastic bag.” You may go home and proudly toss your purchase in the crisper drawer as you do with your other vegetables, all while promising yourself that you’ll use it all. But, as time flies by, you’re soon left questioning, “How long is asparagus good for?”
A lot of fruits and vegetables have clear signs that they’re going bad. Fruits start to grow mold and potatoes turn green, but when does asparagus go bad? The symptoms of rotting asparagus spears might not be as apparent if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking for.
- Health Benefits of Asparagus
- When is Asparagus Season?
- How Long is Asparagus Good for?
- When Does Asparagus Go Bad?
- How to Tell if Asparagus is Bad
- Long-term Techniques for Storing Asparagus
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus stalks are members of the lily family. You can find green, purple, and white asparagus, and this tasty ingredient is in countless dishes across the world. Raw asparagus is booming with essential vitamins and minerals.
Half a cup contains only 20 calories, over two grams of protein, and two grams of fiber. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as potassium, iron, and zinc. Asparagus is packed with antioxidants that help control stress and inflammation.
Sounds beneficial, right? That’s not even half of it. This veggie improves digestion, supports healthy pregnancies, and lowers blood pressure on top of all its other perks.
When is Asparagus Season?
Asparagus is usually available for purchase year-round at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean it’s always in season. The crop is harvested around late February until early June, making the prime time to eat it around April and May.
This veggie grows as an edible stalk. From sowing the seed to harvesting, it takes three years for asparagus to be ready to eat. Overall, they have a lifespan of about ten years.
How Long is Asparagus Good for?
If you have fresh, raw asparagus, how long does fresh asparagus last? This tasty vegetable stays fresh for three or four days if placed uncovered in the crisper drawer. Don’t remove the rubber band that comes around the spears because it helps secure them when storing.
If you’d like your spears to last a little longer in the fridge, wrap the asparagus in damp paper towels and put the spears in an unsealed freezer bag. This method properly stores the asparagus for about six days.
To keep them fresh for over a week, add about an inch of water to a Mason jar or container. Set the spears upright in the cold water and drape a plastic bag or freezer bag over the top. If the water gets cloudy, replace it with fresh water.
When Does Asparagus Go Bad?
The first step in avoiding spoilage is to make smart choices and find the best quality at the grocery store. How to tell when produce like asparagus goes bad involves your senses.
Fresh spears should have firm tips and plump stalks. Green asparagus should be vibrant in color.
Do a sniff test to make sure nothing is off. If possible, buy stalks that are similar in size so that they cook evenly.
How to Tell if Asparagus is Bad
When does asparagus go bad, and how long does asparagus last? This article answers every question you’re likely to have about asparagus and other asparagus tips regarding storage and preparation. Here are some signs that your produce is no longer safe to eat.
If you’ve noticed that fuzzy mold is growing on your produce, you likely have a storage issue.
Although it’s okay to place plastic over asparagus, sealing it too tight holds onto too much moisture and accelerates mold growth. If you notice any mold on your veggies, throw them out or compost them.
Slimy Asparagus Tips
The tips of the asparagus are the most delicious part. Asparagus tips tend to get slimy when they have too much moisture, especially when the tips are smaller than average.
If you’re willing to sacrifice them, it’s possible to salvage the rest of the asparagus. Simply cut the tips off and use the rest for a yummy appetizer.
One of the most prominent visual cues of spoilage is wrinkly stalks. This action is bound to happen to all asparagus over time. Although the texture won’t feel right, it’s often still safe to eat and perfect to cook asparagus in olive oil or throw them in a soup.
Although this is rarer, sometimes the stalks change color once they go bad. If you notice yellowing on your asparagus, it’s probably best to toss it.
Limp or Mushy Texture
Sometimes, asparagus looks perfectly fine, but when you pick it up, it becomes sad and droopy. This limpness doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t safe to eat, but the texture inevitably becomes compromised.
Raw, fresh asparagus never has an odor. If you notice a funky or offputting smell from your produce, it’s time to trash or compost it.
Although this takes a little longer to show up, your asparagus can rot. Look out for spears or tips that turn super dark green or black. No one wants to eat rotten food, so get rid of it as soon as possible.
Long-term Techniques for Storing Asparagus
To store your asparagus for extended periods, freezing, pickling, and canning are usually your best options. Before you try these processes, there is an essential first step to prepping your stalks.
Blanching your vegetables before canning and freezing them is crucial. Blanching stops enzymes in the veggie from losing flavor, texture, and color. It also cleans the surface and prevents vitamin loss.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Dunk the asparagus spears in the boiling water for two minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water and lay out several sheets of paper towels.
Remove the asparagus spears from the boiling water and dunk them in the ice water to halt the cooking process. Lay the asparagus on the paper towel and let dry completely.
Freezing asparagus is simple once you’ve finished the blanching process. Once the spears are dry, place them in freezer bags or another airtight container. Store asparagus in the freezer for up to one year.
Canned asparagus has a shelf life of three to five years, making this the best way to store asparagus for the longest time possible for your produce. Because asparagus is a low acid food, it must be pressure canned.
Make sure your asparagus is blanched, then boil water in a large pot. Pack raw asparagus into clean canning jars and add one teaspoon of canning salt to the jars.
Pour the boiling water over the asparagus until there is a one-inch headspace at the top. Remove any air bubbles and place the seal and lid on tightly. Pressure can the jars at ten pounds of pressure for 40 minutes.
Allow the pressure canner to cool entirely and remove the jars. Let them sit for 24 hours on the counter. Ensure all the jars properly sealed and store asparagus in a cool, dry location.
Pickling asparagus is another way to extend their shelf life and creates a quick, briny treat. This recipe allows you to store the asparagus pickles in the fridge, but pressure canning them and storing them is safe as well.
Try this simple recipe for quick pickled asparagus and use it as a side dish or enjoy as a snack. You won’t be disappointed.
Make sure all asparagus is blanched. Bring the water, salt, sugar, and vinegar to a boil, then turn the heat off and let the pickling brine begin to cool. Add the dill, garlic, and mustard seeds to the jar’s bottom and start packing in the asparagus so it fits tightly.
Pour the brine in the jar, so the asparagus is covered. Secure the lid on the jar and place it in the fridge. After three days, the asparagus is ready to eat and is edible for up to four months.
You no longer need to keep asking, “When does asparagus go bad?” and, “How long is asparagus good for?” We hope that this article on asparagus provided you with everything you need to know about this delicious vegetable, along with some tasty recipes to test out in the future.
No matter what vegetable you’re trying to store, remember that there are plenty of storage options. Stop throwing your money away with your spoiled food simply because you’re unsure how long it lasts.
With the right information and storage routines, you’ll be able to feed on asparagus year-round.
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