Asparagus, like many fruits and vegetables, is a great source of vitamins and has other health benefits but they’re expensive, and using them up before going bad can be a challenge, so this article will show how long they can last in different environments so you can get your money’s worth.
Asparagus can be kept outside of the fridge for two to four hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and one to two hours above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In the fridge, stored only in an airtight container, it can last 4-7 days. In the freezer, it can last 6 to 8 months.
Let’s take a look at how long that asparagus you bought can last outside, in your fridge, and if it can be frozen – how long it can last in your freezer.
Does Asparagus Go Bad? How Long Does Asparagus Last?
Let’s take a look at keeping asparagus outside (whether you’re just bringing it home from the store, or keeping it out as a healthy snack at playtime.) We’ll also see how to properly refrigerate and store it in the fridge and in the freezer.
How Long Does Asparagus Last Outside?
Asparagus, like most vegetables, should be prepped and washed after returning from the store or before storing or serving so that can make a difference in how long you have to keep it out.
If it’s above 90 degrees F, asparagus should not be left out any longer than an hour. Typically, the higher the temperature, the shorter the clock can run. If it’s lower than 90 degrees F, asparagus can be left out for up to two hours.
Asparagus should not be thawed or left at room temperature for lengthy periods of time due to bacteria growth. As soon as you come home from the store, asparagus should be put in the fridge right away after prepping (depending on when you got it from the store and how long you took – that clock is running as soon as it’s out of the fridge.)
Asparagus should not be stored outside permanently unless it is temperature safe. You may be tempted to leave your cold goods outside in the winter when it drops below 40 degrees F, but the temperature can fluctuate so much it is not the best idea to do it.
How Long Does Asparagus Last in the Fridge?
For asparagus to have the most nutrients and be kept safest and freshest, storing in the fridge is the best – especially if you only buy enough for one meal or one person to eat within the time frame.
If you store asparagus fresh from the store in nothing but a freezer bag or a airtight container, it will keep for three to four days. If you cook the asparagus, it can last for five to seven days before being unsafe to consume.
If you store asparagus fresh from the store in a damp paper towel and then stored in freezer bag or an airtight container, it will keep for five to seven days uncooked. (An extra two to three days).
The best method for storing all vegetable these days tends to be the jar method. Take a mason jar, fill with water, and put the stems (or the chopped pieces) into the water and in some cases, put a lid on top, but with asparagus allow the tips to remain out of the water, and just cover with a Ziploc bag or some plastic wrap. This method allows the vegetables to last for 10 days, and in some cases, up to two weeks.
How Long Does Asparagus Last in the Freezer?
For many families, frozen fruits and vegetables is the cheapest way to provide healthy meals for your family, but in some cases it can be cheaper to do it yourself.
First, frozen fruits and vegetables should be cooked and chopped before storing for the asparagus to stay freshest. In turn, it should also be stored wrapped in a damp paper towel and in a freezer safe bag. Make sure when storing to keep it in a freezer safe container or Ziploc.
Frozen asparagus will stay good to use and eat for six to eight months. It should be cooked from frozen or thawed in the fridge for a few hours and then used within 24 hours after beginning to thaw. Don’t allow to thaw at room temperature.
So, asparagus can actually have a fairly long life – especially if it’s frozen. So, outside for no longer than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is higher than 90 degrees. Asparagus keeps best quality in the fridge – in some cases for up to two weeks, and can last in the fridge for six to eight months, when stored properly.
How to tell if Asparagus is Bad?
You can tell if asparagus is bad by sight, and feel – the feel method is very simple and so is the sight method. Often, if the asparagus is not moldy, it can still be used, just cut off any brown or wilted pieces and cook as normal.
Sight – Color: Asparagus that is going bad will become brown and withered, when you hold it by the stem, it will look like a wilted flower (if it is fresh, if it has been cooked or steamed, it will wilt when held because of the moisture in it.) Asparagus that truly cannot be used and will make you sick is asparagus that is moldy. It will begin by turning brown at the top of the stem, and then mold will begin to grow there and branch down the stem. The best thing when you see mold forming is assume that what you can see is only the tip of the iceberg and do not try to cut off and consume the non-moldy pieces.
Feel – Mushy: The tips of the asparagus are typically the first parts to show signs of age. The flowery tips will look brown, and when you place them between your thumb and forefinger with little force, they will turn to mush and fall apart. The stem of the asparagus will wilt when picked up although it may still have some strength and won’t fall apart when held with force.
How to Store Asparagus?
There are two different ways to store asparagus in the fridge. The paper towel method, and the jar method.
Damp Paper Towel: Wrap fresh, washed asparagus in a damp paper towel, then store in an air-tight container. It will keep for five to seven days.
Jar Method: With the jar method, you want to take a fresh jar, washed out and clean. Fill the jar with clean water – preferably boiled or distilled. You then take the asparagus and put them stem first into the jar, allowing the asparagus tips to hang out of the top of the jar – do not put the lid on the jar. Cover the asparagus tips with a Ziploc bag or cover with plastic wrap. You can then store the asparagus in the fridge for 10 days, sometimes even for up to two weeks.
Can You Freeze Asparagus? How?
Yes, you can freeze asparagus. The nice thing is frozen asparagus will last for a long time, so it’s perfect for those on a budget.
Step One – Prep Asparagus: First you need to wash your asparagus after bringing it home from the store – even if it comes prewashed. Then, place in a clean container till you’re ready to cook it. In the container, you can add any spices or make any modifications you want for the asparagus – chopping it up, adding juice, etc.
Step Two – Cook Asparagus: Now, you need to cook your asparagus before it can be frozen. It doesn’t matter what method you use to cook the asparagus – some prefer to boil it to get it soft and chewy, others choose to steam it as a healthy option which is good for things like stir-fries. Others prefer to bake their asparagus with some salt and pepper which makes them tougher but similar to chips.
Step Three – Store Asparagus: Store the asparagus in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag and place in the freezer. Allow food to cool before storing in the freezer to help prevent a lot of moisture causing freezer burn.
Step Four – Thawing Asparagus: To thaw asparagus, just take the amount you want to make into servings, and allow it to thaw in the fridge until ready, OR you can cook the asparagus without thawing if it’s just being added to a dish instead of as a side.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asparagus’s Shelf Life
These are two frequently asked questions about asparagus’s shelf life: How to store asparagus to lengthen shelf life and how to tell if asparagus is bad.
How To Store Asparagus to Lengthen Shelf Life
When refrigerating you can take three different methods. If you store asparagus fresh from the store in a damp paper towel and then stored in freezer bag or an airtight container, it will keep for five to seven days uncooked. The best method for storing all vegetable these days tends to be the jar method. Take a mason jar, fill with water, and put the stems (or the chopped pieces) into the water and in some cases, put a lid on top, but with asparagus allow the tips to remain out of the water, and just cover with a Ziploc bag or some plastic wrap. This method allows the vegetables to last for 10 days, and in some cases, up to two weeks.
When freezing, frozen fruits and vegetables should be cooked and chopped before storing for the asparagus to stay freshest. In turn, it should also be stored wrapped in a damp paper towel and in a freezer safe bag. Make sure when storing to keep it in a freezer safe container or Ziploc.
Can you use asparagus after it’s gone off?
Asparagus when fresh is firm and green, with mostly white roots. If you touch the tip when it’s firm, and when it’s bad, you will notice a difference. A bad batch of asparagus will typically turn brown in color, and will mush when squished gently between your pointer finger and thumb. If even older, it may be slimy and gross and is beyond the point of being safe to cook or eat. You can use some asparagus after it’s gone slightly old, but if you see mold, don’t use it and use your best judgement to decide.
This article should have shown how to safely store asparagus and the best method (the jar method), how long to let it sit in the freezer or the fridge safely and know to let you keep yourself from wasting money on letting vegetables rot.