It’s getting close to winter and it’s time to start thinking about buying bulk Asparagus before prices shoot up. But that’s a lot of fresh asparagus, and you want to make it last all season right? So, that’s why your going to learn how to store fresh asparagus so it tastes great all winter season.
It’s a really easy process, and their are several different way’s of doing it. I’m going to list them bellow, choose the right ones for you.
First up is one of my favorite methods for preserving post fresh produce, And that’s dehydrating.
Storing Fresh Asparagus, The dehydration method
When teaching someone how to store fresh asparagus, I would be remiss if I didn’t start off with this method.
Dehydrating asparagus is super easy, and it’s ideal for soups, sauces, baking and anything that can use powdered asparagus as well.
The trick to dehydrating asparagus is removing the tips and spiting the stalk vertically. Then slice into smaller bits. This is because the stock has a heavy coating on it which makes it take far longer to dry than the fragile thin tips.
If you don’t do this you will over-dry parts while under drying others.
After that, it’s just a matter of placing them into the dehydrator and setting the temperature to 124F (50c).
Depending on the size of your Asparagus, it will take between 5 and 17 hours to completely dry out. Closer to 17 if you didn’t peel the stalks.
You can do this with out a dehydrator to, In the oven.
An oven is a bit more powerful than a dehydrator so you have to be more mindful. Try and set the temperature to 200, if you can’t get that low, open the oven door and prop it open with something (none flammable). Take care to keep animals and children away from the oven, please.
The same cooking time applies, 5-17 hours depending on how you’ve prepared your asparagus. You can drastically cut down on drying time by stripping the covering on the stalks and splitting them in half.
Re-hydrating is easy. You can either do the quick hot method or the slow cold method.
Fast Hot method:
Soak your asparagus in hot water (not boiling) for 30 minutes to an hour. You can simmer it further in the water if you want to cook it, But at this point, it’s good to add into stews and soups, etc to finish off its cooking time.
The Slower Cold Method:
Simply let it re-hydrate in cold water overnight. Than cook as desired.
How To Store Fresh Asparagus With The Freezing Method
This method of preservation will require blanching. For those that don’t know what balancing is, it’s the process of boiling something for a very short period of time and than dunking it in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.
Why do we blanch? Simple, it keeps vegetables looking green and healthy, keeps them fresher longer, and they wont turn black sludge once thawed.
Asparagus blanching instructions:
- Bring a big enough pot of water to a boil that can accommodate all your asparagus. I recommend doing 1 pound batches.
- If you’ve cut up your asparagus, You can put the pieces in a sieve and lower it in, Otherwise, just drop them in.
- Stir once and a while, allow 2-5 minutes of cook time
- As soon as time has elapsed, dunk it in your ice water to stop the cooking process. Allow them to sit in the cold water for 5 minutes
The instructions are the same if you have a steamer, Just allow for a bit of extra time, 1 minute or so.
The Freezing Part
- Lay out your blanched asparagus on a cookie sheet, leaving space between each piece.
- Put in the freezer, this will take approx 2 hours to freeze solid.
- Take out of the freezer and place in zip-lock freezer bags.
By freezing them apart instead of together, you will stop them from freezing together into a giant clump. This way it’s zero effort later when it comes time to cook them, you get exactly what you want with no prying apart.
The final option I wanted to talk about today was canning your asparagus. However the topic is simply too large and out of the scope of this article to get into, And really need’s it’s own article. So when that’s released ill link to it here as well.