It’s asparagus season! I love this time of year. The availability of asparagus always signifies the beginning of spring and the coming of summer for me. It’s one of the first crops available in the county and let’s me know that winter is really, truly, officially over.
The season only lasts a short few weeks so I’m trying to make the most of preserving these green stalks. Normally I would pickle a couple jars and then just eat as much asparagus as humanly possible in the short time frame they’re available. This year, I’ve tried freezing them and it’s working out quite well. I’ve done a small batch so far and I’m loving the results.
Here’s how to freeze asparagus.
Make sure the asparagus you use is as fresh as can be. Wash the asparagus to get rid of any dirt or loose sand. Trim the asparagus as you normally would by snapping or cutting off the woody ends. Make sure that you are trimming them to fit the size of freezer bag you’ll be using.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the asparagus to the boiling water. Have a large bowl of cold water filled with ice ready.
You don’t want to over cook it as they’ll turn mushy. There are two main reasons for blanching. The first is to keep that nice green colour. The second is to kill off any bacteria or enzymes. Blanching times depend on the size of the stalk. I’ve found a good resource to determine how long to blanch asparagus.
Immerse the asparagus into the bowl of cold water filled with ice in order to stop the cooking process.
Lay the spears onto a kitchen towel and pat them dry. Line the asparagus in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place into the freezer for 2-3 hours in order to “flash freeze” them. After they’ve individually frozen, put the stalks in freezer bags and store in the freezer. Try to take as much air out of the bag as possible. I also suggest putting the date on the freezer bag. Things tend to get lost in my deep freezer and it helps to have a date on the bag for those times I dig something out and have no idea when it was picked or preserved.
You can keep frozen asparagus for about 8-12 months. When I’m freezing any fruits or vegetables I like to make sure to use them up before the next season arrives.
When you’re ready to use the asparagus, I don’t recommend thawing it out because they’ll become soft. Instead, just cook from frozen. It’s great to use in soups or quiches. We tested cooking them over the bbq and while they tasted fine, it just doesn’t hold the crispness that fresh asparagus does.