How Long Does Asparagus Last? The Answer is surprising!

Asparagus is a lovely spring vegetable that you can cook and serve in many different ways. If you’ve never tasted asparagus, you may wonder what it tastes like, how you eat it, and how you store it. Let’s take a look at this vegetable and how long it lasts.

Keep asparagus for up to a week in the fridge and a year in the freezer. Asparagus spears are the young shoots of the asparagus plant. Fresh asparagus tastes slightly grassy and earthy, somewhat like green beans. Before cooking, storing, or freezing asparagus, always rinse it and trim the ends. 

You’ll often see asparagus at a farmer’s market or in the fresh produce section.

You’ll find long, thin green stems tied with string or an elastic band.

It’s often quite pricey, and you don’t want to ruin this luxury vegetable by incorrect preparation.

How do you cook and eat this unusual vegetable? 

What Part Of Asparagus Do You Eat?

If you see an asparagus plant, it’s hard to imagine what part you eat.

What you buy in a store are the long, thin shoots of the plant picked when they are young. We call these shoots “asparagus spears.”

If you leave the asparagus shoots on the plant, they grow into large, feathery.

Instead, farmers harvest the shoots when they reach six to eight inches long and up to half an inch thick.

The shoots consist of a long green or purple stem with a pointy bud at the tip.

The tip is the most delicate and delicious part of the asparagus spear. Sometimes you will find asparagus tips for sale.

However, you can’t eat the whole spear when you buy it, no matter how fresh it is.

You first have to trim asparagus spears before cooking and eating them to remove the tough, woody bits in the last inch or so.

What Does Asparagus Taste Like?

Most asparagus has a bright, grassy, earthy taste but the flavor of asparagus will differ depending on:

  • the type of asparagus you buy.
  • how you cook the asparagus.

What Do Different Types of Asparagus Taste Like?

There are three main types of asparagus, tasting slightly different.

What Does Green Asparagus Taste Like?

Green asparagus is the most widely available variety of asparagus with a flavor somewhat like broccoli or green beans. 

The flavor will be the same whether you buy thicker or thinner asparagus spears and whether they’re dark or light green.

What Does Purple Asparagus Taste Like?

The flavor of purple asparagus is sweet and delicate.

Purple asparagus is purple on the outside and green inside. Once cooked, the outside becomes greenish.

Serve purple asparagus raw in salads to keep the pretty color and highlight the sweet flavor.

What Does White Asparagus Taste Like?

White asparagus is the mildest and most delicate, although the shoots are much thicker. 

White asparagus is not a different variety of asparagus.

It is green asparagus grown under a tarp or mounds of soil. Covering the asparagus prevents it from developing chlorophyll, the pigment that turns plants green. Without chlorophyll, the shoots grow white.

You find fresh white asparagus in Europe, but it is usually canned, making it very soft. 

What Does Cooked Asparagus Taste Like?

Most people will cook asparagus before eating it, although thin spears are tasty raw as part of a salad. 

You can roast, grill, sautée, boil, or steam asparagus. Whole or chopped, asparagus cooks very quickly.

Asparagus picks up the flavor of the food it’s cooked with or the sauce it’s served with. Let the asparagus flavor and tender texture shine by choosing simple recipes and flavors. 

Here are some ideas for serving asparagus as a side dish:

  • Steam the asparagus and serve it with butter or hollandaise sauce to contrast the bright crunch of the vegetable and the creamy richness of the topping.
  • Blanch asparagus, chill and serve it cold with a lemon and herb dressing. Tangy lemon tones down the earthy asparagus.
  • Grill asparagus spears with a dash of olive oil and squeeze lemon juice over to serve.

You can also add asparagus to stir-fries, soups, or pasta, although its flavor can get lost in a complex dish.

How Long Does Asparagus Last?

Asparagus is a delicate spring vegetable, so it is very perishable, which means it does not last long.

Fresh asparagus will last only three to four days after purchase, but if appropriately stored in the fridge, you can stretch asparagus’s life to ten days.

Frozen asparagus can last for months.

The first step in getting your asparagus to last as long as possible is to buy the best quality. Look for asparagus in spring at farmer’s markets or local growers. 

Choose the freshest asparagus with freshly cut tips, smooth skin, and firm tips. It should be bright, green or purple with a crisp texture.

If the asparagus looks dried out or wrinkled, with brown edges or drooping tips, avoid it as it is not fresh and will be flavorless.

How Long Does Asparagus Last At Room Temperature?

Asparagus will only stay fresh and crisp for a couple of hours at room temperature, less if it is hot. Only leave asparagus out of the fridge if you plan to prepare and eat it soon.

How Long Does Asparagus Last In The Fridge?

Always store your fresh asparagus in the fridge. Asparagus put straight into the crisper drawer will last three to four days.

To extend the shelf life of asparagus, you need to provide a damp environment with good air circulation. 

However, before you store your asparagus, first:

  • Wash the asparagus thoroughly in cold water. Dry with a paper towel.
  • Bend and snap or trim the woody ends off the asparagus spears, one by one, and discard.

Here are some ways to keep your asparagus happy and give it a longer fridge life:

  • Loosely wrap the asparagus in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper drawer. Make sure the plastic allows the vegetable space to breathe. This method keeps the asparagus fresh for up to five days.
  • Wrap the broken edges in damp paper towels, pop the wrapped asparagus in a plastic bag, and keep the asparagus in the crisper drawer. This method will make the asparagus last up to a week.
  • The third method is like storing flowers – asparagus is a member of the lily family. Fill a mason jar with a couple of inches of cool, fresh water. Stand the cut ends of the asparagus in the water. Store asparagus in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

How Long Does Asparagus Last In The Freezer?

If you have a lot of asparagus that you know you won’t eat, don’t worry. Asparagus freezes well, especially the thicker spears. Frozen asparagus will last eight to twelve months.

Before you freeze it, start by preparing your asparagus:

  • Wash and dry the asparagus.
  • Bend and snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears, one by one. Discard the woody ends.
  • Either keep the asparagus spears whole or chop the asparagus into chunks for adding to other dishes.

However, you can’t freeze fresh asparagus as it will lose its color and go soggy.

You first need to blanch it. Blanching means briefly cooking the asparagus then cooling it quickly to stop it from cooking more. This method keeps the asparagus crisp.

Blanch the asparagus either by boiling or steaming. Here’s how:

  • Have a large bowl of iced water ready.
  • Boiling method: Add the asparagus to a pot of boiling water. Cook for two to five minutes until tender.
  • Steaming method: Steam the asparagus for three to six minutes or until tender.
  • Once the asparagus is ready, drain immediately and put in the cold water for a couple of minutes. Drain the asparagus in a colander.

The asparagus is ready for freezing. Follow these steps to freeze:

  • Lay the blanched asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for two hours.
  • Put the frozen asparagus in zip-lock freezer bags or airtight plastic containers.
  • Label the bags and containers with the date and contents.

There is no need to thaw frozen asparagus, as it can go mushy. Simply cook it as planned or add it to other dishes.

How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad

If you keep your asparagus too long or store it badly, it will spoil. Discard spoiled asparagus and do not eat it as you can get sick.

These are the signs that your asparagus is no longer suitable to eat. 

  • The asparagus turns dark green, limp, and mushy.
  • There is mold growing on the asparagus.
  • The asparagus smells funky. Fresh asparagus doesn’t have a smell.

Conclusion

Asparagus is a delicious spring vegetable with a fresh, herby flavor.

Eat asparagus spears with lemon, olive oil, butter, or hollandaise.

Store asparagus in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh.

However, eat fresh asparagus as soon as possible for the best flavor and texture.