Asparagus is in season throughout the spring, and it’s the perfect veggie addition to any dinner spread. Drizzle some lemon and add some garlic to your oven-roasted asparagus, and you’ve got a healthy side. The only thing you may be wondering is how to keep asparagus fresh. That way, nothing gets tossed out before you get the chance to use it.
Unfortunately, we’re no stranger to accidentally letting produce rot in the fridge. It’s easy to buy more than you can eat in the allotted time frame before produce goes bad—and, in the case of asparagus, gets all slimy. Yum.
Even though composting food waste is an eco-friendly way to divert food waste from landfills, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the most effective way to solve the problem is to prevent food surplus. For consumers, that could mean trimming your grocery list and using every last bit of food purchased.
To reduce food waste—ultimately keeping food out of the landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—it’s important to know how to prevent food from going bad. Here’s how to keep asparagus fresh, so you can cook delicious meals all season long.
How to Keep Asparagus Fresh: 6 Tricks That Work
1. Buy Fresh Asparagus
The first step to keeping asparagus fresh is to make sure you’re not buying asparagus that’s already on its way out. That means checking the color of this veggie before bringing it home.
The freshest asparagus will be green and even purple, and the spears are firm. If the asparagus is a darker shade of green, mushy to the touch, and has an unpleasant odor, it’s no longer fresh.
2. Trim the Stems
Similar to how you would trim flower stems when you buy a new bouquet, you’ll want to trim the bottom of your asparagus. This allows for the vegetable to soak up water and stay hydrated while being stored, keeping it fresh until you’re ready to eat it.
3. Keep Asparagus Spears in a Glass of Water
Once trimmed, put the asparagus spears in a cup or jar filled with an inch or two of water—aka just the stems. This keeps the spears hydrated without giving them too much water.
To retain moisture, cover the top of the stalks with a produce bag. Instead of using Saran wrap, which can be wasteful, try an alternative like beeswax wraps. (And read on to learn a waste-free way to store all fruits and veggies!)
4. Keep Asparagus in the Fridge
This step may be a given, but we’re covering all our bases. To ensure your asparagus stays fresh, keep it in the fridge. But beware of keeping it in the fridge for too long (or pushing it to the back of the fridge where it can freeze).
Typically, asparagus stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days—sometimes longer if you store it correctly. Take advantage of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, and keep a watchful eye on your produce.
If you store the asparagus in a jar of water, be sure to switch out the water to prevent it from getting murky.
5. Use a Produce Bag
Instead of using single-use plastic bags and paper towels to store your asparagus—or any produce, for that matter—try using a reusable produce bag.
The Veggie Saver Produce Bag keeps veggies fresh up to five times longer than usual. It retains just the right amount of moisture, keeping veggies crisp and delicious. Plus, this bag eliminates single-use paper and plastic waste. And it can even be composted! Hello, zero-waste.
6. Freeze It
Yes, you can freeze asparagus—for up to eight months! But before you freeze the spears, be sure to check for soggy or shriveled pieces. You won’t want to freeze those.
Trim the hard ends of the stalks—you can save these to make vegetable broth—and boil your asparagus for just a few minutes. Quickly dry them off and cut them into smaller pieces. And finally, you’re ready to freeze.
Be sure to label the date on the bag you’re keeping the asparagus in. For a reusable option, try a Stasher Bag. When you’re ready to cook, add your asparagus to soups, sauces, casseroles, and more. And don’t worry about letting the veggie thaw—you can cook with frozen asparagus.
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