Does Asparagus Go Bad? Tips To Keep Them Fresh Longer

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that are available for only a few months of the year. This vegetable is also versatile and can be eaten fresh, used in soups and stews, and excellent for stir-frying. Therefore, most people will stock on this vegetables.  You can store them at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or even the freezer. Like most other vegetables, asparagus shelf life is very short once it’s harvested. How long can you store them before asparagus go bad?

Can Asparagus Go Bad?

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that tend to not last very long once it’s harvested. This is due to their high water content. To keep them from going bad, they will need to be properly stored.

This vegetable is highly perishable and once it’s exposed to the air, especially if it’s hot, they will start to lose their moisture. This will result in them going bad.

Asparagus will usually take a while to reach their prime. This can be a couple of days to a few weeks, all depending on how it’s stored.

To keep them from going bad, they’ll need to be stored in a cool and moist place. The best place to store them and to keep them fresh for a long time would be in the refrigerator.

How To Tell When Asparagus Go Bad

When asparagus has gone bad, it’s quite easy to tell. There are a couple of signs you should look for when they are spoiled. However, like most vegetables, asparagus deteriorate slowly. This will give you some time to save them before it reaches it’s prime.

Color – Fresh asparagus will have dark green tips. As it starts to go bad, the color will start to become darker. This doesn’t mean you have to throw them away yet. They may still be good to eat if there is no mold growing on them.

Texture – Fresh asparagus will have firm stalks. When it starts to go bad, the stalks will become soft or mushy. There may be some black spots that will start to develop all over it as well. If you see this, it’s best to throw the veggies away.

Also, if you’ve left them in the refrigerator for a long time, they may have slimy residue on them too. This is another sign that the asparagus has reached its prime and should be discarded.

Smell – Asapagrgus will have that fresh smell to it. If it starts to smell rotten or have an acidity smell to it, throw it out. The smell is usually from the bacteria that are growing on the asparagus.

How Long Does Asparagus Last?

At room temperature, fresh raw asparagus will last a day. If it’s really hot, you can expect them to not last longer than a couple of hours. After a few hours exposed to the hot temperature, the vegetable will start to become soft and lose their crunchiness.

As for cooked asparagus, they too will not last very long at room temperature. After it’s cooked, it should be consumed within 2 hours. Leaving them out too long could cause them to have bacteria growth.

In the fridge, depending on how you store them, asparagus can last between 3 and 14 days.

For fresh raw asparagus, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If the asparagus is wrapped with wet paper towels, they will last for 4 to 7 days in the fridge.

Asparagus that is stored in a jar of water, they will usually last the longest. The asparagus will last 10 to 14 days.

Cooked asparagus stored in the refrigerator will last 3 to 5 days. This is if it’s properly stored in an airtight container or a plastic bag.

Above are just an approximate time of the asparagus shelf life. Other factors that affect their shelf life will be things such as storage temperature, how fresh they are when you’ve bought them, and where it’s stored.

fresh aparagus

How To Store Asparagus?

Asparagus is usually sold with a rubber band around the bunch. This is to keep them secured from the farm to the grocery stores. It’s important that you do not remove the rubber band when you’re storing them at home.

Due to their high water content, asparagus is best stored in a damp environment. At the grocery stores, you will notice it’s often available in the produce section and not the refrigerated section.

Grocery stores do this because produce such as vegetables and fruits tend to sell quicker than refrigerated produce. Therefore, placing asparagus in the produce section will make them sell faster.

At home, you’ll want to store in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for a long time.

If you’re planning to eat or cook asparagus within a day, leaving them at room temperature is fine. It’s best to store them in a container with a damp paper towel covering it. This will help keep the vegetables moist.

If it’s going to be longer than a day, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. In the fridge, there are a few different ways to store them.

The first method is to simply put the asparagus in the crisper drawer. Keep the rubber band on to keep them secured. Be sure to use them within 4 days for the best quality.

The second method is to wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel. Then place the asparagus in a Ziploc bag leaving it unsealed. This will help keep them fresh for a few days.

The third method will keep the asparagus fresh for a week or more. This will require you to use a container or a jar. Make sure the jar is tall enough to accommodate the asparagus.

In the jar, add clean water about halfway full. Then place the asparagus in the jar. Using a plastic or freezer bag, cover the jar loosely. The veggies need air circulation to keep them fresh. When the water becomes cloudy, change the water.

As for cooked asparagus, whether you’ve cooked just the asparagus or its part of a meal, it’s best to store them in an airtight container. Make sure the lid is sealed tight to prevent air from getting into it.

Can You Freeze Asparagus?

When it comes to asparagus, this vegetable freeze very well in the freezer. This is due to their high water content.

Asparagus can be frozen as fresh raw vegetables or cooked.

For fresh raw asparagus, you’ll need to prep them first before putting them into the freezer. If you simply just put them into a plastic bag, they will not last very long in the freezer. The longest they’ll last is about 2 months before it starts to go bad.

Instead, it’s best to blanch the asparagus first before freezing them. Blanching the asparagus will help preserve the color, texture, and nutrition. In addition, blanching will extend their shelf life in the freezer for up to 8 months.

As for cooked asparagus, there’s no prepping needed. After the vegetables are cooked, let them cool down completely first and put them into an airtight container. Label the container, seal it tight, and place it into the freezer.

How To Keep Asparagus Fresh Longer

Buying Asparagus

To keep asparagus fresh as long as possible, it starts at the grocery stores. The fresher the asparagus is, the longer it will last. Unfortunately, this vegetable sold at the grocery stores will not have an expiration date on them. This will make it difficult to tell when it was harvested and how long it’s been sitting in the store.

The best way to tell the quality of the vegetable is to look for signs. Good quality asparagus will be dark green and the stalks will be firm. There should be no visible signs of mold or darkening of the stalks either.

Asparagus will usually be sold in a bunch with a rubber band holding them together. Shift through a couple of them in the bunch to see the quality of it. If there are a couple of them that seems to be going bad, it’s best not to buy that bunch. Once one of asparagus starts going bad, the others in the bunch will start to deteriorate as well. If you’re planning to use all of them the same day, that should be fine. Otherwise, it’s best to look for better quality vegetables.

Besides the grocery stores, the farmer’s market is usually the best place to buy fresh asparagus. At the farmer’s market, the asparagus is usually fresh as they are picked a day before or even on the same day it’s being sold.

It’s rare that you’ll find asparagus that’s a couple of days old, but sometimes it happens. Therefore, check the quality of the veggies before buying them at the farmer’s market.

Handling Asparagus

Asparagus is very delicate and they break easily if too much pressure is put on them. Always handle them with care. If the stalk breaks in half, the will start to lose their moisture and start to spoil.

At the grocery stores, it’s best to carry them in their own bag so other items can’t damage the asparagus. When you get home if you’re not going to use them right away, place the vegetables in the refrigerator as soon as possible to keep them fresh.

Related Questions

What part of asparagus is poisonous?

Asparagus make seems like a harmless vegetable to eat but it hides a deceptive secret. You may notice the bright red cherries that are on the asparagus. This fruit is very toxic to humans. A small amount won’t kill you, but it will make you sick.

What can you do with old asparagus?

If you have some old asparagus left in the freezer, more than likely they will lose some of their flavor and texture. Instead of throwing them away, the asparagus makes a great cream soup. You can also combine them with other vegetables such as broccoli and peas.

Why is my asparagus bitter?

When the asparagus is overcooked, it will become bitter. When blanching them, place them in boiling water for about 20-30 seconds. Then immediately transfer them to a cold water bath to stop it from cooking further.