Is It Possible To Freeze Fresh Asparagus?

The simple asparagus is can be found complementing every grilled steak or baked fish. Be it bathed in a buttery sauce or simply steamed, these spears offer the perfect amount of crunch and juiciness, which makes them a great vegetable to have at all times. However, as many vegetables do, asparagus wilts over time, and it can be a challenge to finish an entire bundle if you're only cooking for one. So, then the question becomes: how do you preserve your leftover asparagus?

Well, surely, freezing is probably the first thing that comes to mind for preserving perishable foods. However, the high water content of asparagus can actually ruin the integrity of its fiber and structure once thawed, according to The Washington Post. In fact, this is a physical change that occurs when you freeze any vegetables with higher water content, like lettuce, which is 96% water, and asparagus, which is only a few points lower at a whopping 93% water composition. So what is the solution to keeping your asparagus spears for longer?

Blanch before freezing

Food scientists of the National Center for Home Food Preservation claim that blanching is a necessary step in freezing vegetables. Blanching is the process in which you cook vegetables in boiling water or hot steam for a short time before you cool them very quickly in a tub of cold water, preferably around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Blanching preserves not only the color of your vegetables but also the texture, nutrients, and flavor.

Blanching should help retain the original texture of asparagus, but it isn't necessarily going to be as good as cooking fresh asparagus. HuffPost shares that one of the greatest mistakes many people make with cooking frozen vegetables is thawing them before. The process of thawing lets the ice crystals formed in frozen asparagus deteriorate into their liquid state, creating a soggy spear. To avoid this, you'll have to take your frozen asparagus and cook it in high heat straight from the freezer. To introduce the frozen vegetables in a dry, high-heat environment, it's best to sauté them (via Getty Stewart). Pan frying your asparagus allows the water to come out and evaporate quickly, which allows the asparagus you're cooking to stay as crunchy as possible. Preserving your asparagus spears not only involves pre-freezing blanching, but also quick cooking from frozen. Check out our other methods for keeping asparagus fresh.