We often stock up on weeks worth of asparagus. From stir fry to baked or air-fryer asparagus, there are tons of recipes to experiment with.
But, how long does asparagus last before it starts to turn mushy?
Fresh asparagus will last you 3 to 5 days when refrigerated. Store it in a glass jar with some water, and you can push its shelf life to 10 days. If you notice it turning dark green or appearing mushy, it’s time to toss it in the bin.
How Long Does Asparagus Last in the Fridge?
If you store fresh asparagus in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag, you can expect it to last for 3 to 4 days. After that, it will start showing signs of spoilage. You can wrap the base with damp paper towels before storing it in the fridge. That way, you will look at 3 more days of shelf life.
The best way is to store it in a container with about an inch of water. Follow this, and you will push its shelf life to 10 to 14 days.
|Storage Method||Shelf Life|
|Raw asparagus without refrigeration||3 days|
|Refrigerated raw asparagus wrapped in wet paper towels in||Nearly 1 week|
|Refrigerated raw asparagus placed in a glass/jar with water||Nearly 2 weeks|
|Refrigerated cooked asparagus in an air-tight container||Up to 5 days|
Shelf life of Asparagus
The shelf life of asparagus is defined by the conditions in which it is stored. By that, I mean, is it raw or cooked, refrigerated or left in the pantry?
There are nearly 15 kinds of varieties of asparagus. Out of which the white, green, and purple variants are the most commonly consumed. Depending on the type you get, its shelf life will keep changing. Green asparagus is the most common and it will last for 4 to 5 days maximum, but again it depends on how you store it.
How Long Does Cooked Asparagus Last?
Once asparagus is cooked, its quality and shelf life takes a turn. Refrigerate it in an air-tight container, and you can keep it consumable for 3 to 5 days. Want to extend its shelf life further? I suggest freezing it.
Place your cooked asparagus in a freezer bag, remove all excess air, and store it in your freezer. It’s best to freeze cooked asparagus right after cooking instead of waiting for some days. With time, the nutritional value of cooked asparagus will deteriorate.
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How to Extend the Shelf Life of Asparagus?
The best ways to extend the shelf life depend largely on whether your asparagus is cooked or raw, fresh or a day or two old. My experience has taught me a few things about storing asparagus. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to extend its shelf life.
How to Store Raw Asparagus?
You might be storing asparagus in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, choosing not to remove the plastic produce bag you bought it in. But I have noticed that storing asparagus in a container is the way to go.
1. Trim the Asparagus
Wash your fresh bunch of asparagus thoroughly with cold water. Dry it with a piece of a dishcloth or paper towel. Trim one inch from the woody ends or stalks of the asparagus.
2. Look for a Container
Fill an appropriately sized mason jar or a similar type of container with about an inch of water. Keep your asparagus in the jar, the trimmed stalks touching the bottom of the container. Cover the asparagus stalks with a plastic bag, and seal it around the mason jar with a rubber band.
Do not overcrowd the jar or container. If you have multiple bunches, I suggest using multiple jars.
Store the jar in the refrigerator. Try to avoid the top shelf of your fridge when storing fresh asparagus. Older fridges often freeze water and, along with it, the vegetable.
Remember to check on your stored asparagus every 3 days and consume it within a week. You can have it till you notice the cut sides becoming mushy. If the water appears cloudy, swap it out with fresh water.
How to Freeze Asparagus?
If you plan to have your asparagus after a week, there is a way to do it well. If you follow a step-by-step guide, you can freeze asparagus and enjoy it much longer. Here’s how you freeze asparagus:
Start by blanching the asparagus to maintain its texture and color. All you have to do here is cook it in a bowl of boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Once done, transfer it to an ice-water bowl. This helps stop the cooking process.
2. Flash Freeze
This is a good way to prevent asparagus from sticking together in your freezer bag. Lay out the stalks on a paper towel-lined baking tray. Leave a space of an inch or two between each. Store the tray in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until frozen.
3. Store in Freezer Bag or Air-tight Container
Once you have frozen the asparagus, transfer it to an air-tight container or a freezer bag. Remember to label the container or bag with the date. Freezing asparagus will keep it fresh for about 8 to 12 months!
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How to Refrigerate Cooked Asparagus?
Got some leftover sautee asparagus from lunch? It’s always a good idea to refrigerate or freeze it. Start by placing the leftovers in a shallow air-tight container like a plastic container or a freezer bag. Then tightly wrap it in heavy-duty plastic wrap or aluminium foil before refrigerating it.
Store cooked asparagus well, and you can have them for 3 to 5 days.
How Does Fresh Asparagus Look?
If you are not the most adept asparagus connoisseur, there are a few pointers to help you ascertain its freshness. The spears of asparagus must be plump and straight with a firm stem. It should be a vibrant green color with sharp and snappy decorative tips.
The ends of a perfectly good asparagus should be tender and moist, not split and dry. The bottom should be fresh and crispy.
How to Tell if Asparagus Has Gone Bad?
These are the signs of asparagus in good condition. What about ones that are nearing spoilage? There are tell-tale signs of understanding if your asparagus has gone bad or is about to soon. Look out for the following signs of decay:
- Darker green like avocados to nearly black tips
- Mushy/slimy and limp stalks with mold spots
- A pungent and unpleasant smell
If you see only a few self-contained dark spots, you can chop them off and consume the rest. But there are slimy and mushy stalks or moldy spots that take up most of the asparagus, it is best thrown out.
Why Should You Stay Away From Spoiled Asparagus?
You should avoid spoilt asparagus for the same reason you should avoid anything spoilt. Rotten food is never good news. Our bodies are fine-tuned to digest only what is in a condition to be consumed. You try to consume something off-putting, and your body will reject it sooner or later.
The direct adverse effects of consuming spoilt asparagus have not been recorded yet, but you can expect something unwanted. One of the most common symptoms of consuming rotten asparagus is stomach upset.
I would say you should avoid it because it will taste, smell, and look extremely unhealthy and off-putting. Not to mention, the health benefits will be long gone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How do you know when asparagus has gone bad?
Ans. There are a few tell-tale signs of understanding if asparagus has gone bad. Look for the tips turning dark green or blackish, a pungent odor, and mushy or slimy stalks. These should tell you whether it is time to toss your asparagus right into the bin.
Q2. Can you eat 2-week-old asparagus?
Ans. Depends. You cannot eat a 4-day-old bunch of asparagus if you leave them out in the open or refrigerate them in a plastic bag. But if you refrigerate them with the stalks wrapped in wet paper towels in a water-filled jar, 2 weeks is a safe bet. Alternatively, you can freeze them to extend their shelf life further.
Q3. Can you eat asparagus after 5 days?
Ans. Sure, as long as you follow the best practices for storing asparagus. If you store asparagus in a mason jar with about an inch or two of water, 5 days is good. Wrap the stalks in wet paper towels, and you can enjoy them for 10 to 14 days. Freeze them, and you can have them for months.
But if you store them in a plastic bag in the open or in the fridge, avoid consuming them after 5 days.
Q4. How do you keep asparagus fresh for a week?
Ans. If you want to keep asparagus fresh for a week, I suggest wrapping the stalks in a wet paper towel and storing them in mason jars with an inch of water. Avoid storing them on the topmost shelf of the refrigerator. If you freeze asparagus following the proper method, you can keep them fresh for months.
The Bottom Line
Asparagus is a highly versatile green vegetable, so it is not a surprise if you have them lying around. Americans consume more than 500 million pounds of asparagus each year. You can make a scrumptious meal out of it with the recipes posted online. Having said that, nothing is worth risking a health scare. Asparagus is not costly enough to compromise your death. Try to follow the best storage practices, and always buy fresh asparagus from the market.
The next time you get asparagus, enjoy it heartily but do not overlook being cautious of its shelf-life.