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How to tell if asparagus is bad (plus the niftiest tips on keeping it fresh!)

So you purchased a bundle of asparagus for your new recipe. You used half of it and stored the rest in the fridge. After a few days, you realized that they have a short shelf life, but you didn’t know how to identify their signs of spoilage. Oh no!

In case you’re wondering what the common signs that your asparagus has gone rotten are, then this definitive guide could very well be tailed for you! 

From its shelf life to its spoilage signs to tips on keeping your favorite veggie fresh, I’ve covered everything you need to know about asparagus. Let’s dive in, shall we?

How to tell if asparagus is bad?

It’s quite easy to tell if your asparagus is bad. Freshly-bought asparagus tend to have dark green tips and firm stalks. However, if the asparagus sitting in your fridge for a few days has developed an unpleasant smell, better throw it right away!

Another sign that you’re keeping rotten asparagus is when you’ll notice its stalk getting limp and mushy; mold spots may also start to appear. The tip of the asparagus also turns darker green in color until it becomes nearly black. 

It’s possible to discard only the spoiled spears, simply cut out the bad spots of your asparagus, and use the rest. However, it would help if you think twice before using it when the stalks are very limp, or feature a slimy texture, and have a pungent smell. 

How long will asparagus last?

The shelf life of asparagus depends on how you store them and their storage condition. Meanwhile, there are few storage methods available to extend the asparagus’ shelf life and keep it as fresh as possible. Typically, cooked and fresh asparagus will last for three to five days in the fridge when stored properly. If you’re planning to make use of it for a year-long, I suggest you put the veggie inside an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bags then freeze them. Just keep in mind to freeze your asparagus at 0°F so you can maintain its best quality for 10 to 12 months. 

How long will asparagus last in the fridge?

As mentioned, both cooked and fresh asparagus tend to last long up until five days in the fridge when stored properly. Before sliding them into the refrigerator, ensure to wrap the asparagus with heavy-duty plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil

However, if your veggie develops a slimy texture and lousy smell, throw it away as these are the signs of spoiled asparagus. 

What does bad asparagus smell like?

One way to identify if your asparagus has gone bad is when you’ll notice its unpleasant and pungent smell. Generally, fresh asparagus doesn’t have an odor. If your stored veggies do, then the best thing to do is get rid of them!

What does bad asparagus look like?

Bad asparagus features blacks spots all over the stalk with an abnormally soft and mushy texture. It’s recommended to throw the veggie away when its tip turns darker green in color until it becomes nearly black.

Tips from the pros: Keeping asparagus fresh

Asparagus has a very short shelf life, so you should know how to keep them fresh. Below are the only tips that you need on how to keep this veggie all fresh. When storing your asparagus and keeping them fresh as much as possible, you should follow these storage methods. You can either wrap them in a wet paper towel or cook and put the veggies in an airtight container before sliding them into the fridge. You can also trim the bottom of the veggie and stand the spears up in a glass of water, cover them with a plastic bag, then refrigerate them. When properly stored, you’ll be able to make use of the asparagus for up to two weeks. You can extend asparagus’ shelf life even more through freezing. Follow the simple steps below on how to freeze your favorite veggie. 

Can you freeze asparagus?

Yes, you can. Freezing is the best method to preserve asparagus and keep it fresh for a long time. All you need is a knife, pot, ice cubes, large bowl, timer, baking sheet, plastic bags, vacuum packing, and plastic wrap. Here’s how it’s done. 

  1. Select freshly-harvested asparagus and wash each spear with cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Keep washing thoroughly until it becomes entirely clean. 
  2. Trim the woody ends of your spears. The bottom end of the asparagus hardens with time. Therefore, you have to slice off the bottom third of your spears. You can take the asparagus in your hand to find a weak spot around its bottom third region. Next, snap the spears into two. If not, cut with a sharp paring knife. Repeat this step for all the spears.
  3. Chop the asparagus into pieces that are about two inches in length. Although you can freeze the whole spears, cutting it is necessary for the next process: blanching.
  4. Use a pot that is big enough to hold the asparagus pieces. Fill two-thirds of the pot with water. Bring the water to a boil.
  5. Pour water and ice cubes into another large bowl.
  6. After boiling the water for three minutes, drop your asparagus spears or pieces into the water. Set a timer for three minutes to cook the asparagus. Make sure not to let the asparagus sit in the boiling water for any longer.
  7. Immerse all the boiled asparagus into the icy bowl immediately after taking it out of the pot. Set another timer for three minutes.
  8. Use a dry towel and dry off the damp asparagus.After following the steps above, proceed to freeze the asparagus.
  9.  Lay down a baking sheet and distribute your asparagus pieces evenly and position the pieces such that overlapping is not possible. Use plastic wrap as a covering for the sheet.
  10.  Add the baking sheet to your freezer so it can be flash-frozen in an hour. This causes your asparagus pieces to freeze on a separate level instead of being frozen as a solid mass.
  11.  Use plastic bags that are considered reliable for extended use (around a year). Stick labels with dates on your containers so that you can determine the condition of your asparagus.
  12.  Make sure that you eliminate any air from the container to maintain the texture and taste of the asparagus. To do this, you can apply vacuum packaging.
  13.  Freeze your asparagus for a year or longer.

Here are more details on freezing asparagus. 

The bottom line

As an asparagus aficionado, I have great hope that you’ll now be able to grasp more than ever every detail above, so you can finally tell if your asparagus in the fridge is already bad.

The next time you’re about to cook them, don’t forget to check their condition, and in case you have smelly and slimy asparagus, better get rid of it immediately!

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