How to Freeze Asparagus

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Here's the best way to freeze fresh asparagus so you can enjoy those tender crisp stalks later in the year.

How to Freeze Asparagus

Asparagus is usually available in U.S. supermarkets year-round, but the asparagus you see in the late summer and the cold months probably comes from far, far away. Fresh, local asparagus is only available for a short time each year. In seasonal climes, the season for asparagus is spring. Exactly when and for how long fresh asparagus is available depends on where you live.

Look for fresh asparagus in the produce section of your local market (often, it will be labeled as local asparagus) and your favorite farmers market. Or maybe you’re a gardener, and when asparagus season hits, you have more than you need. If you’re lucky enough to find an abundance of fresh asparagus, you’ll want to consider freezing it, so that you can enjoy those crisp, tender stalks later in the year.

And then you can grill asparagus, steam asparagus, roast asparagus, and find all sorts of ways to cook with asparagus all year long!

Fresh asparagus spears on table.

Blanching Asparagus Before Freezing

Boiling or steaming asparagus briefly before you freeze it locks in the texture and bright green color of the vegetable (this is true when freezing most vegetables). Blanching simply means quick-cooking a vegetable, and then plunging it into an ice water bath to “shock” the vegetable, e.g. stop the cooking. This also helps the asparagus retain its color and texture. Just don’t blanch for too long, as overcooking will cause asparagus to become soggy.

How to Freeze Asparagus

  1. Prepare the ice bath: Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. 
  2. Boil water: Heat an inch or so of salted water in a large pot.
  3. Cook the asparagus: Once the water has come to a boil, place the asparagus in the pot no more than a few layers deep, and cover the pot. Return the water to a simmer.
Placing raw asparagus into pot of boiling water with tongs.
  1. Drain and blanch: When the asparagus is cooked to a crisp-tender stage, drain the asparagus and immediately plunge into the ice bath. This should take about 2 minutes for thin spears, and 4 minutes for thicker stalks. When you poke the spears with the tip of a sharp knife, you should feel slight resistance. The color should be bright green. Allow the asparagus to cool completely in the ice bath.
Chilling blanched asparagus in ice water bath.
  1. Dry the asparagus and prep it for freezing: Drain the asparagus, transfer it to a clean dish towel, and pat dry. You can then transfer the asparagus to a freezer-proof bag, pressing out all the air. At this point, you can also cut the asparagus into pieces before freezing it, if you know you are going to be using them in a casserole or a stir-fry, and need smaller pieces. Label the bag, and freeze. 
Woman placing blanched asparagus into labeled freezer bag.

Can you freeze asparagus? Yes! Here’s the best way to freeze fresh asparagus so you can enjoy those tender crisp stalks later in the year.

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Defrosting Asparagus

You can either defrost the asparagus at room temperature for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. Or, if you are using the asparagus in a recipe that is going to be cooked or heated, you can use the asparagus straight from the freezer. The stalks will defrost quickly in whatever dish you are making.

Tips

  • Make sure to use a large pot, preferably big enough for the asparagus to lie flat in or at least large enough for the asparagus to fit into the pot at an angle with the lid tightly placed on top.
  • Make sure to have the ice bath ready before you put the asparagus in the boiling water, as the cooking time is very quick.
  • If you have thick asparagus, you may want to not only trim off the bottom inch of the stem but also peel the tough outer skin on the bottom few inches of the stalk.

FAQs

How long should I cook asparagus?

See here for a chart on asparagus cooking time, depending on thickness. If you are planning to freeze the asparagus, you want to cook them on the shorter side, especially if the asparagus is going to be heated in another recipe after they’ve been taken from the freezer.

Can you freeze asparagus without blanching?

I strongly recommend blanching before freezing, but it is technically possible to forgo the blanching process. If you freeze asparagus without blanching it first, you still need to prep it by removing the unwanted parts and washing the stalks, so you’re not saving yourself that much time. Keep in mind that unblanched asparagus will deteriorate more quickly in the freezer, losing its color, taste, and texture. Unblanched defrosted asparagus is best used in things like soups where the difference in texture will be less noticeable.

What if I only want to use a few stalks of asparagus at a time?

If you want to be able to use a few stalks at a time, without having to defrost the whole bunch, flash-freeze them before transferring them to a bag. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet and transfer it to the freezer. Once they are partially frozen, after about 30 minutes, transfer them to a freezer-proof bag. Press out the air, and freeze completely. 

How long can asparagus last in the freezer?

Asparagus will last for up to 8 months in the freezer.

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5 from 1 vote

How to Freeze Asparagus

Here's the best way to freeze fresh asparagus so you can enjoy those tender crisp stalks later in the year.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Cooling time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound asparagus (trimmed)

Instructions 

  • Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  • Heat an inch or so of salted water in a large pot, preferably big enough for the asparagus to lie flat in. If your pot isn’t large enough to fit the asparagus in a horizontal layer, that’s ok, as long as there is enough room for the asparagus to fit into the pot with the lid tightly placed on top.
  • Once the water has come to a boil, place the asparagus in the pot no more than a few layers deep, and cover the pot. Return the water to a simmer. When the asparagus is cooked to a crisp-tender stage, about 2 minutes for thin spears, and 4 minutes for thicker stalks, drain the asparagus and plunge into the ice bath. When you poke the spears with the tip of a sharp knife, you should feel slight resistance. The color should be bright green. Allow to cool completely in the ice bath.
  • Drain the asparagus and transfer to a clean dish towel and pat dry. You can then either transfer the asparagus to a freezer-proof bag, press out all the air, label the bag, and freeze; or, if you want to be able to pull out a smaller amount of the stalks at a time, flash-freeze them before transferring to a bag. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet and transfer to the freezer. Once they are partially frozen, after about 30 minutes, transfer them to a freezer-proof bag, press out the air, and freeze completely. These will last for up to 8 months in the freezer.

Notes

  • Cooking asparagus briefly before you freeze it locks in the texture and bright green color of the vegetable (this is true of freezing most vegetables). Blanching simply means quick-cooking a vegetable, and then plunging it into an ice water bath to “shock” the vegetable, e.g., stop the cooking. This also helps the asparagus (or other vegetable) retain its color and texture.
  • Make sure to use a large pot, preferably big enough for the asparagus to lie flat in, or at least large enough for the asparagus to fit into the pot at an angle with the lid tightly placed on top.
  • Make sure to have the ice bath ready before you put the asparagus in the boiling water, as the cooking time is very quick.
  • If you have thick asparagus, you may want to not only trim off the bottom inch of the stem but also peel the tough outer skin on the bottom few inches of the stalk.
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Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 916mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 3429IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 109mg, Iron: 10mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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