Freezing Asparagus is arguably one of the best ways to preserve fresh asparagus for more than a few days. It is an extremely easy process and the defrosted product uses well in cooked recipes eg soups, quiches, risottos, chicken dishes, roasted etc. If you’ve never eaten fresh asparagus you might enjoy the frozen variety reheated with butter but realistically for good flavour and texture this should be kept for the freshest untreated product.
Look out for bargains when the season is at its height and prices are at their lowest. This is the time to buy some excess bunches and set yourself up for a few batches of freezing. Or if you are lucky enough to have an asparagus bed freeze a few batches when you have a glut for some great tastes of spring all year around.
The other time to freeze asparagus is every time you prepare it! We keep a bag of ends in the freezer. When you snap the ends off as you prepare your fresh asparagus pop the ends in the freezer bag. No blanching just raw asparagus into a bag. We then use these ends to make soup. You can use them all winter long to make a really tasty healthy stock at zero cost.
Prepare your asparagus by snapping the ends off the spears. You will need to place the frozen asparagus spears in freezer bags or air tight storage containers. Before you continue work out how they are going to fit into these containers so that you can freeze them as quickly as possible.
Apart from “frozen ends” for soups etc. you will need to blanch your spears before freezing. Follow these instructions for blanching being sure to follow the blanching times. If you blanch for too long you will have soggy asparagus with poor colour and lowered nutritional value. If you don’t blanch for long enough you actually make matter worse than not blanching at all as the heat you have applied encourages the action of enzymes which degrade the asparagus rather than slowing them down.
(I only don’t blanch the frozen ends because I’m using them for soup stock. No doubt they would be better blanched but it rather defeats the process of quickly saving bits that would otherwise be thrown away, they are “good enough”! )
After blanching and rapid chilling pack your spears into freezer bags or airtight containers draining off any water so that the packages are as dry as possible. Mark up the bags or boxes with what is in them, the date and quantity.
Place the blanched and chilled asparagus for freezing in the freezer and leave to freeze. Do not put too much product that needs freezing in all at the same time or the time taken to freeze will be slower and the food will have more time to deteriorate.
The recommended time for keeping asparagus in the freezer is 8 – 12 months. (Use it all between seasons!). However the only thing that will happen if you leave it longer is that the quality will deteriorate.
The easiest way to cook Asparagus!
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Basics of how to cook fresh asparagusstart by looking at How to Cook Asparagus first for some background information on a range of cooking methods.
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