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How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad? 7 Must-Know Signs

How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad? 7 Must-Know Signs

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It is early spring and you couldn’t wait to buy asparagus at your local grocery store or at the local farmers market. You buy it and take it home but are not sure that you want to use it right away in your favorite recipe.

Then, a lot of questions arise. “How can I store my favorite veggies?”, “How long does it last?”, and, finally, “How to tell if asparagus is bad?”. And that is probably the most important question at the end of the day.

No one wants to end up eating spoiled food. It is disquieting, but most importantly, it can do damage to your body and your health. Although there are many health benefits that this vegetable can provide, once it spoils, it can just do damage.

So, if you don’t want that to happen to you, continue reading this article and find the answer to this important question and learn some storage methods that will prevent your asparagus from spoilage.

Quick Answer: How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad?

There are several signs of spoiled asparagus. First, the asparagus tips tend to get soft and the stems become shriveled. The color of the stalks transforms from bright green to dark green. And finally, the tips become mushy and the smell becomes bad.

What Are The Obvious Signs That Asparagus Has Gone Bad?

bunch of Asparagus on the table

Unlike some other types of food like turkey bacon or salami, you can not know how long asparagus can last because they don’t have an exact expiration date. That’s why it is essential to know when it is not suitable for consumption anymore.

• Discoloration: Discoloration is the most obvious sign that asparagus has gone bad. If you see any changes in color, especially if you see that asparagus stalks have turned yellow, that is most likely a sign of spoilage.

• Unpleasant smell: If you sense any strong odors or any uncharacteristic smells from your asparagus, that is a clear sign that it’s not for usage anymore. The reason for this is that fresh raw asparagus does not contain any smells at all.

• Mold: One of the most common signs of spoilage is your fresh asparagus getting moldy. Mold is definitely a clear sign of spoilage that you can’t ignore.

• Wrinkled stalks: When the asparagus stalks go wrinkly, it is a sign that it is not all good with your favorite vegetable. Although you can still eat it at this stage incorporating it in some dishes like soups, the texture and taste won’t be ideal.

• Limpy asparagus spears: If you notice a limp texture of asparagus spears, it is also a sign of spoilage. You can solve this problem by getting rid of the spears and using the rest of the asparagus.

• Mushy Asparagus: If your asparagus starts to become soft and mushy like wet noodles, be aware that it is not as good as it was. It can still be used in some dishes but you have to cook it. You can not eat asparagus raw in this state.

• Slimy Asparagus Tips: When your asparagus spoils, the tips turn from normally green to dark green or black. This is one of the first signs of spoilage, so do not ignore it.

How To Store Asparagus Properly?

asparagus in a ceramic pitcher

The best way to store asparagus is to refrigerate it. You can refrigerate fresh asparagus and cooked ones. Below, I will show how to do that in both situations.

Fresh Asparagus

First, you need to be aware that asparagus, unlike some other foods, likes moisture. That is what the proper storage of this food is based on. Based on that fact, there are 2 ways to store your fresh asparagus in the fridge.

1. Damp paper towel: First, your store-bought asparagus bunch comes with a rubber band. Do not remove that rubber band because it will help you to secure the spears.

Second, since it is good for your asparagus to be in a damp environment, it is best to leave it in a half-open plastic bag. Now, you can wrap your asparagus stalks in a wet paper towel and put it in the fridge or crisper drawer.

This is an excellent way to store your asparagus in the fridge for about a week. But, there is an even better way to store it, which I will explain below.

2. Glass of water: An even better way to store asparagus in the fridge is to put it in a glass with an inch of water. You can also place it in a jar or airtight container and pour a little water into it just to fill the bottom.

This way, your asparagus will stay fresh in the fridge even longer, i.e. for about 2 weeks.

Cooked Asparagus

You can also refrigerate your cooked asparagus. In order to do that the proper way, make sure that you don’t cook it in boiling water. Make sure that the cooked spears keep their crispy texture by blanching them. You can also roast or steam them.

After it has been cooked properly, let it cool to room temperature for up to 2 hours. After that time, you must transfer the asparagus to an airtight container or glass jar that has to be tightly sealed.

Finally, you can store the container or jar in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Asparagus?

asparagus in wooden crate

Yes, of course, you can freeze your asparagus. But you need to know how to do it the right way. Here, I will list the main steps that you must take in order to do this thing right.

1. STEP: First, prepare asparagus properly. When you buy the best green spears, you need to wash them and trim them the right way. Trim the woody end part of the asparagus. You can also cut off an inch counting from the bottom.

2. STEP: Second, you must blanch your asparagus. That means you have to expose it to boiling water or stem it quickly. After blanching, you can place the asparagus in a bowl full of ice water and that will help maintain the green color and crunchy texture of the asparagus.

3. STEP: After the cooking process, you will transfer the asparagus pieces evenly in a single layer onto a baking sheet. It has to be lined with parchment paper.

4. STEP: Now, you can place that baking sheet with asparagus in the freezer for about 1 hour.

5. STEP: After that 1 hour, take the baking sheet with asparagus out of the freezer and transfer it to a freezer bag or airtight container. It is best to use the zip-lock airtight bag to be sure that there is no airflow.

6. STEP: You can finally put that bag or container into the freezer and your asparagus will last there for about 1 year.

How Long Does Asparagus Last?

asparagus and tomato cherries on wooden desk

There is no exact spoilage date of asparagus. The time frame in which your asparagus will last mainly depends on the way you store them. That also depends on the condition they were in when you bought them.

But, here, we will assume that you bought asparagus in good condition and I will show you how long it can last based on its storage.

First, raw asparagus can be maintained at room temperature for up to 1 day. If you put it in the fridge in that state, it will last 3-4 days. And, if you freeze raw asparagus, you will extend its shelf life for about 12-18 months.

You can extend the shelf life of asparagus in the fridge a little bit by wrapping it with a wet paper towel. That way asparagus will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

And, if you put it in a jar of water, it will last for about 10-14 days.

Cooked asparagus can stay fresh at room temperature for a little less than 1 day. If you place it in the fridge, it will last for about 3-5 days. And finally, if you freeze it, you will extend its shelf life for up to 10-12 months.

RAW ASPARAGUS1 Day3-4 Days12-18 Months
With Wet Paper Towel3-5 Days
In The Jar Of Water10-14 Days
COOKED ASPARAGUS1 Day3-5 Days10-12 Months


fresh asparagus on wooden desk

What Happens If You Eat Bad Asparagus?

Eating rotten food can cause a lot of bad things in terms of your body and health. You can suffer from diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, headache, and a lot of other illnesses.

When it comes to asparagus, it is not sure what exactly can happen to you, but it is not excluded that you can start suffering from one of these illnesses.

One thing is sure. You will certainly have a lot of gas. Also, if you suffer from some kind of vegetable allergy, you should avoid eating asparagus entirely.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Asparagus?

Generally speaking, fresh asparagus lasts for about 3-5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator. The shelf life of fresh asparagus in the freezer is about 12-18 months.

However, if you leave it at room temperature, it will last no more than one day and then it will start to show first signs of spoilage.

Is Asparagus Good For You?

Asparagus can be extremely good for your overall health because it possesses an impressive nutrient profile. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, as well as some micronutrients like zinc, iron, and riboflavin. And it is also full of powerful antioxidants.

Asparagus is good for your digestive health, heart health, blood pressure, etc. It can also help with a healthy pregnancy and weight loss.

To Sum It Up

So, as you could have seen, there are many ways to tell when this seasonal vegetable called asparagus has gone bad and those ways are the main answers to the question of how to tell if asparagus is bad.

Aside from that, it is also important to know what the shelf life of asparagus is, as well as how to store it properly in order to avoid spoilage in the first place. So, alongside 7 ways to tell if your asparagus is bad, I also emphasized the best ways to store asparagus.

If you carefully read them, you won’t get yourself in a situation where you will be exploring the spoilage signs of asparagus and you will always have them fresh and healthy as they are.

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