It’s essential to know how to store asparagus in the freezer, starting from washing, sorting, blanching, and packing. At the last stages of growing asparagus, farmers must ensure to remove spears to prevent beetle infestation. Therefore, you can only elongate your harvest’s quality by knowing the proper storage techniques for asparagus.
Like most crops, the shelf life of asparagus is critical upon harvesting. In fact, experts recommend cooling your freshly picked spears immediately to improve their shelf life. This way, you can ensure marketable asparagus spears with good quality.
Remember that cultivating asparagus does not stop after harvesting. Asparagus’ successful growth also has to provide consumers quality crops, so your efforts in the farm pay off. Since prolonged exposure to field heat also affects asparagus spears, refer to Krostrade.com for greenhouse farming.
Can Asparagus Be Frozen?
Asparagus can be frozen, and freezing is a storage solution that offers the most extended shelf life. It is especially useful for farmers who harvest a lot of spears during the asparagus season. This is because freezing asparagus imported from another region will end up bland with unappetizing texture.
Freezing locally grown asparagus will give you tender and delicious spears. However, be aware that thinner and smaller spears won’t have the same quality afterward as thick spears. Asparagus spears that are the size of a pencil will do well in the freezer.
Best way to freeze asparagus
Storing asparagus in the freezer is similar to how you’ll store other vegetables. You will wash, sort, blanch, and pack the spears. Blanching is a scalding method or steaming food items before plunging them in iced water or under cold running water.
Can I freeze asparagus without blanching it?
You cannot freeze asparagus without blanching it because this step is crucial for reducing quality loss. Not blanching asparagus spears will cause a decline in your vegetables’ color, texture, and flavor. Blanching will also ensure that you have removed and killed dirt and other microorganisms on the asparagus.
What blanching does is that it will stop the enzymes that can affect the overall quality of the spears during storage. It also slows down the loss of nutritional content such as the asparagus vitamins when you freeze them. Success in blanching and storing asparagus in the freezer can give your vegetables a shelf life of 5 months.
How To Store Asparagus In The Freezer
The best way to freeze asparagus is composed of five steps. They include washing, sorting, blanching, and packing. It is a straightforward process, but it’s crucial not to miss any. With blanching, you have the option to blanch by either boiling or steaming.
Step #1: Washing
Before freezing asparagus, you must wash the spears. Place the spears under running water until you remove all the dirt, especially at the tips. However, if the vegetables require more cleaning, you can swish the spears in a large bowl filled with cold water.
Step #2: Sorting
Once you finish cleaning the spears, the next step is to sort them into several batches. Doing so will ensure that they are blanched correctly for adequate freezing storage. Segregate the spears into small, medium, and large spears.
These groups will be blanched together since the large and thicker spears will take more time to blanch. But what do large spears look like? If they are the same as a pencil’s size and are more than half an inch in diameter, you can consider these asparagus spears as large.
Lastly, cut some of the spears to make them uniform. This step is not necessary, except on occasions when there is a noticeable difference in asparagus lengths. Remember these batches and store them accordingly.
Step #3: Blanching
Sorting the asparagus spears beforehand will let you know how long you should blanch each size. Large ones take 4 minutes, while it will take half for small asparagus. However, take the time to remove the bottom ends by bending the spear before blanching.
Blanching by boiling
Fill a pot of water and boil a pound of asparagus for 2 to 5 minutes. This is the part where it’s helpful to segregate the spears into their sizes. Once the time is up, drain the blanched asparagus and transfer the spears to the cold water.
The time your spears spent in the boiling water will also be the same duration they will be in cold water. Putting any food item after blanching in cold water will stop the cooking process. Keep a timer close by and then drain the spears using a colander.
Blanching by steaming
From the word itself, you will steam the spears in the steaming basket. Cover it and steam according to the size or thickness of the spears. It can take 3 to 6 minutes for the steam to blanch the asparagus.
Once done, transfer the spears to cold water. Again, please leave them in cold water as long as the duration they’re steamed. Afterward, drain the spears to get rid of excess water.
Step #4: Packing
Use freezer bags for packing the cooled and drained asparagus spears. You can also use plastic containers as long as there will be no excess air inside. Label the dates of the spears per package, so you have an idea on their shelf life.
Another technique worth noting is to flash freeze the blanched asparagus before putting them in the bags or containers. This is useful if you prefer the spears to not stick together per usage.
Step #5: Put it in the freezer
Spread the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours.
Do You Need To Refrigerate Fresh Asparagus?
It would be best if you refrigerate fresh asparagus to maintain its freshness. To do this, stand a bunch of spears in an inch of water in the refrigerator. Like putting a bouquet in a vase, putting asparagus in a glass of water will help it stay fresh.
How do you store asparagus in the refrigerator?
If your refrigerator is full, cover the exposed asparagus with plastic wrap loosely. This way, the spears won’t absorb any smells inside. Once you notice that the water is dirty, simply replace it.
You can also keep the spears loosely wrapped in a perforated produce bag and keep it in the high-humidity crisper drawer.
How Long Can You Keep Asparagus In The Fridge?
Asparagus can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator, and sometimes it can even take a week. However, the shelf life shortens if you keep it with other vegetables. Fresh asparagus should be firm and vibrant.
On the other hand, throw out the spears when they become soft and brown.
Maintain the quality of your asparagus at 36°F with 90 to 95% relative humidity. Otherwise, storing them at 32°F will turn the tips gray. On the contrary, storage above 50°F will toughen the spears.
Crops like asparagus are perishable items, but you can maintain their quality and freshness by storing them properly. It’s essential to know how to store asparagus in the freezer because this method can keep the asparagus at the optimal quality for five months. However, be aware of blanching the spears according to their size and never skipping this step before freezing.
If you only need the asparagus available for a week or a couple of days, you can also refrigerate them. Use the crisper drawer in your fridge or submerge the bunch of spears in an inch of water. Lastly, remember that 36°F with 90 to 95% relative humidity is the best storage conditions for asparagus.