How To Freeze Asparagus: It’s So Simple And Easy
Have you bought a large amount of asparagus from a great sale and don't know how to keep them for longer use?
Then, you're reading the right article as I try to teach you how to freeze asparagus while retaining their color and nutrients. You'll have a better outcome than canning this vegetable, which will produce a mushy output.
Freezing asparagus involves cleaning and blanching before you store them in their respective packages. In the freezer, asparagus can last up to eight months. To know more about the details of freezing asparagus, keep on reading below.
What You'll Need
1. Fresh Asparagus
If you want your asparagus to taste good even after thawing, choose those that are fresh and as possible, organic. The best tasting asparagus is those in season in your area. Unlike imported asparagus, organic and fresh asparagus are tender and crisp.
To choose the freshest asparagus, look for vibrant green or violet-tinted spears with hard stems, not limp. The tips need to be compact and closed. To test whether the vegetable is fresh, give the bunch and squeeze, and if it would squeak then, they're good to choose.
2. Large Bowl Of Cold Water
To remove any debris trapped on the scales of asparagus, give it a clean in a large bowl of cold water. Any material of bowl will do as long as it's large enough to allow your hands to move inside. Alternatively, you can use the running water from your faucet.
You may need a knife to cut the bottom of a thick asparagus. Rather than snapping it like what you usually do on a thin asparagus, the ends of a thick asparagus may be tough. Chop about a thumb's worth of the bottom part.
4. Vegetable Peeler
If you're working on a thick asparagus, it's better to remove the skin to make it tender crisp when cooked.
Unlike an unpeeled asparagus, the peeled ones will not leave any skin interference when you eat it. To remove the tough skin of asparagus, use a good vegetable peeler, like this one.
5. Large Pot Of Boiling Water
To blanch the asparagus properly, use a large pot of boiling water. You can use any pot you have in your kitchen as long as it's large enough to handle one gallon of water.
Depending on the volume of your asparagus, the best size of pot that you should have is at least 8 quarts, like this one.
6. Blanching Basket
If you like to blanch the asparagus conveniently, then use a blanching basket, just like this one.
This allows you to remove the asparagus from the hot pot with so much ease. Just grab the handle, drain the liquid back into the pot, and transfer the contents to the necessary container.
If you have no blanching basket available in your kitchen, you can directly blanch the asparagus into the pot. When they're done, use a tong to remove them from the hot pot of water.
8. Large Bowl Of Cold Water And Ice
You need another large bowl of cold water, but this time you need to put a couple of ice for blanching. The iced cold water will stop the cooking process of the asparagus after they came out from the pot of hot water.
After you have cooled the blanched asparagus into the bowl of ice cold water, you need a colander to drain excess water effectively. You need to dry the asparagus before you store them in an airtight container.
10. Airtight Food Storage Containers
11. Freezer Bags
If you have no plastic bins, you can use heavy-duty freezer bags, like ziploc bags. Before you seal the bag, remember to remove all air out possible.
12. Vacuum Food Sealer
You're lucky if you have a vacuum food sealer because it seals the food more efficiently as compared to other airtight containers, like plastic bins and freezer bags. This is a great investment if you often store food in the freezer.
1. Clean The Asparagus
With a bowl of cold water, wash the asparagus in batches. Your goal here is to remove any dirt that is potentially trapped underneath the scales and spears. To clean, plunge the heads of the asparagus into the cold water and try to move it in the water.
Watch how to clean asparagus properly in this video here.
This is the same thing that you'll need to do when you use your kitchen faucet. You just need to run the water into the heads of the asparagus.
2. Trim And Peel, If Necessary
After they're washed, you can trim the ends. For thin asparagus, just snap the bottom with your hand. You'll possibly notice that the ends will just snap off easily. Since this type of asparagus is already thin and tender, there's no need to peel the skin.
Watch how to prepare asparagus in this video here.
For thicker asparagus, you need to cut the ends with a knife because it will be tough when cooked.
You'll know that the ends need to be cut if you see that the bottom is pink and it goes from pale green to brilliant green to the tip. Since the scales will be thicker for this one, make sure to peel it with a vegetable peeler.
3. Blanch The Asparagus
Now that your bunch of asparagus is already cleaned and trimmed, you can now start boiling water in a pot over high heat.
Blanching is necessary because it helps maintain the color and nutrients of the asparagus. While waiting for your water to boil, get the bowl of ice and water ready.
Once your water is boiling, place a couple of asparagus into the blanching basket and immerse it into the pot of boiling water. You can also soak the asparagus without the blanching basket. The large ones need about two minutes while the smaller ones need only a minute of cooking time.
When all the asparagus is done, quickly remove them from the pot and plunge them into the bowl of ice and water. The cool temperature will stop the cooking process. Cooling period is about the same as the cooking time.
Watch how to blanch the asparagus in this video here.
4. Drain And Pack Into Airtight Containers
When the asparagus is thoroughly cooled, remove them from the bowl of ice and water and drain in a colander.
Let them dry thoroughly and pack in your choice of airtight container: freezer bag, vacuum sealer, or plastic bins. Don't forget to label the packages with the freezing date or the expiration date to keep you aware of their shelf life.
Additional Tips To Remember
1. Seal Your Freezer Bag With A Straw
If you don't own a vacuum sealer, The Kitchn recommends using a straw. First, remove all air out as possible by pressing the bag by hand. Seal the bag by leaving a little space for your straw to insert.
Watch how to use a straw in vacuum sealing a freezer bag in this video.
With the straw inserted, suck out all the air until you notice the bag collapsing. While still keeping suction, carefully remove the straw out from the bag and quickly seal the rest of it.
2. Flash Freeze The Blanched Asparagus
If you don't like the asparagus to stick together when they get frozen, About Food suggests flash-freezing them.
After you have the blanched the asparagus, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure that no pieces of asparagus overlap. Next, cover them with a plastic wrap and freeze for about 1-2 hours.
When they're done, transfer to airtight containers of your choice. This process freezes each piece of asparagus individually rather than freezing into a solid bulk in the storage container.
3. Sort The Spears By Size
HGTV suggests sorting the spears by size before freezing. This will make the packaging easier. Since the time of blanching is determined by the size of the spear, sorting them by spear size makes the blanching more efficient.
In general, the large spears need about two minutes of cooking time. The smaller ones need only one minute to blanch.
Did you enjoy learning how to freeze asparagus? To get optimal results, it is best that you choose fresh asparagus with firm stalks and brilliant green color.
Blanching is necessary to preserve the nutrients and vibrant color of the vegetable. To prevent freezer burns, don't forget to pack the vegetables in an airtight container, like freezer bags and a vacuum sealer.
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