Yes, you can freeze asparagus using an easy blanching and flash freezing technique. The best way to freeze asparagus is to blanch, flash freeze, and then bag it for deep freezing. It will last about a year or so and will retain most of it's flavor the entire time, with the peak in the first 2 or 3.
Scroll on down and keep reading to find out how you can freeze this wonderful veggie!
Why Freeze Asparagus?
Asparagus is one of those vegetables that is so good. Nothing is better than lightly covering them in some olive oil and tossing them on the grill alongside whatever else you may be cooking.
Fresh asparagus only stays good in the fridge for around 5 days. And, that's even if you keep it at optimal conditions.
|up to 1 year
|3 to 5 days
Unfortunately, like most fruits and vegetables, asparagus is seasonal. This means that is is only available during certain times of the year. And, while it may be available during non-seasonal times, it is usually harder to find, more expensive and a less good quality.
So, since asparagus is only in season from February til June, you might want to find ways to preserve it for non-season months as well. Luckily, this is really easy to do by blanching and freezing it.
It is the same method we use with many of our more dense veggies like freezing yellow squash, freezing zucchini, freezing radishes and freezing beets as well as some less dense veggies like when you freeze cabbage and freeze Bok choy.
Need to know all about freezing? These freezing food cheat sheets will help!
Admittedly, it will lose some of it's crisp texture like any other vegetable, but you were going to cook it until it was tender anyway, right? It can be added directly into a recipe without being thawed first or can thaw in the fridge overnight.
Asparagus Freezing Stats
|Small: 2 minutes per 1 lb
Medium: 3 minutes per 1 lb
Large: 3-5 minutes per 1 lb
(up to 5 depending on thickness)
|Time To Freeze
|2 to 4 hours (flash freeze)
12 to 24 (deep freeze)
|Time to Thaw
|a few hours in the fridge
can cook in oven or microwave without thawing
|up to 12 months
Can You Freeze Asparagus Without Cooking?
If you plan to eat the asparagus relatively soon (like within a week), you will probably be fine not to freeze asparagus first. But, if you plan to go any real length of time, you should always blanch your veggies before freezing them.
Why do we say blanch instead of cook? Blanching works because it is essentially starting the cooking process. Many fruits and veggies have an enzyme that cause them to continue aging even if they are frozen. Blanching kills that enzyme and stops the aging process. When we quickly remove the food and put it in an ice bath that sudden temperature change stops the cooking process.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
How To Freeze Asparagus
You can freeze asparagus as whole stalks or cut into pieces. Whole stalks seem to hold up a little better but both work just fine. We will use a combination of blanching and flash freezing to get them ready for the deep freeze.
Flash freezing is great when you are freezing multiple pieces or chunks of food and don't want them to stick together. This method is also commonly used to freeze blueberries, freeze blackberries, freeze carrots, freeze watermelon and cantaloupe and freeze raspberries.
Step one: Wash and sort asparagus. Rinse it well under water. Then, sort it according to thickness (this helps for blanching later).
Pro tip -
- Small is thinner than a pencil
- Medium is about the thickness of a pencil
- Large is anything thicker than a pencil
Step two: Trim asparagus. Use a knife to cut the ends off each stalk. This is usually ½ an inch or so. You'll want each stalk to be approximately the same length.
Pro tip: if you want to freeze asparagus sliced, now is the time to slice up each stalk into 1 inch sections.
Step three: Blanch the asparagus. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil for the time listed below.
Then, quickly remove from the boiling water and add just the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to quickly cool it down. This prevents it from getting fully cooked.
- Small: 2 minutes per 1 lb
- Medium: 3 minutes per 1 lb
- Large: 3-5 minutes per 1 lb (up to 5 depending on thickness)
Step four: Remove the cooled, blanched asparagus from the ice bath. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
Removing excess water is important so that you don't have water added during freezing. This can lead to freezer burn and also being mushy when defrosted.
Step five: Flash freeze the asparagus. Place it in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then, place it in the freezer for a few hours until it is partially frozen.
Step six: Remove the asparagus from the freezer. Portion into the sizes you will be using when thawed and place in freezer bags.
Seal and label the bag and then place them into the freezer.
- Dry well. Make sure to get all of the water off of the asparagus before flash freezing. This prevents freezer burn and ensures it will not be water logged and mushy upon thawing.
- Do not overcook. Blanching is essential because it stop enzymes from continuing to age the food while frozen. However, if you actually cook the asparagus (or don't get it cooled quickly enough) it can become mushy upon thawing.
- Sort into similar sizes. By sorting the asparagus into similar thickness, it allows you to better control how long you should blanch it.
- No air. Squeeze all of the air from the freezer bag before sealing it. This will help to maintain maximum freshness.
How to Defrost Asparagus
Defrosting or thawing asparagus is relatively simple. You can remove it from the freezer and pop it into the refrigerator overnight.
Or, if you will be cooking it, you can simply cook it straight away. Just be aware that if you choose this route you will need to add additional cook time to your recipe.
You can use your frozen or defrosted asparagus in any way you typically would - grilled, steamed, in soups or casseroles. Or any of your other favorite recipes.
Freezing Asparagus FAQ
Asparagus can be soggy after freezing if you blanch it too long (or don't cool it quickly enough. Or, if you don't get all of the water off of it before freezing it.
Yes, asparagus is good after being frozen. Like anything, it can lose a smidge of its texture. But it still is tasty and perfect for most any recipe you usually use it in.
No, you should not freeze fresh, uncooked asparagus. It has an enzyme in it that will cause it to continue to age in the freezer if you do not blanch it first.
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.
How to Freeze Asparagus
- Cutting Board
- Cookie Sheet
- Freezer Bags
- Large Pot
- Marker or Pen to label bags
- 1 lb Asparagus you can certainly do more, it will just take multiple rounds of blanching.
- Rinse the asparagus under water in the sink. Using a colander helps so that you can sit it in that and let the water run over it.
- Sort the asparagus stalks into similar sized thickness. This will help later during blanching.Small is thinner than a pencil; Medium is about the thickness of a pencil; Large is anything thicker than a pencil
- Trim the ends off the stalks of the asparagus. Usually about ½ an inch or so. Try to get each stalk the same length.Tip: if you want to freeze as slices, then slice the spears up now. 1 inch slices works best for blanching.
- Set your pot of water on the stove and bring it to a roiling boil.
- Toss your asparagus into the pot to blanch it. Try to do it in batches according the the thickness you sorted earlier.Blanching times:Small: 2 minutes per 1 lbMedium: 3 minutes per 1 lbLarge: 3-5 minutes per 1 lb (up to 5 depending on thickness)
- Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place into a container filled with ice water to quickly cool it down. This prevents it from overcooking.
- Once cooled, remove it from the water and thoroughly dry it off so no excess water remains.
- Flash freeze it by laying it in a single layer on a cookie sheet and placing it into the freezer for a few hours.
- Once partially frozen, remove it from the freezer and portion it out into the amounts you will use when thawed.
- Bag each portion into freezer bags, making sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing.
- Label each bag with amount and date before pressing flat and putting it into the freezer.
- Dry completely. Make sure you have gotten any excess water off of the asparagus before flash freezing. This ensures it won't be too mushy when thawed.
- Don't overcook. Although you must blanch the asparagus before freezing, fully cooking it can make it mushy when thawed. Make sure to quickly cool it and sort it by thickness so that you only blanch as long as necessary.
- Squeeze out the air. Remove all of the air from the freezer bag before sealing it. This will help to lock in maximum quality.