Signs That Your Asparagus Has Gone Bad

Asparagus is great served fresh in a pasta, grilled with a hearty protein, or just by itself. It is more expensive than most vegetables, mostly because of its short seasonal window in the springtime and the time and space it takes to grow the veggie (via The Spruce Eats). Much like its growing season, the vegetable's shelf-life is short. Asparagus looks weird enough as it is, so no one would blame you for overlooking signs of an asparagus stalk past its prime. We're here to help. "Good" asparagus should be bright green with dark green tips and firm stalks (via Does It Go Bad). 

If asparagus stalks are discolored, they're probably too old. Same with asparagus that has become slightly slimy or mushy, or has a strong, bad smell — definitely toss these in the compost bin. Of course, if only a few spears have gone south, you can discard them and keep the rest — but if more than half seem bad, it's probably best to get rid of the bunch.

Keeping asparagus fresh

So how do we keep asparagus in tip-top shape for longer? Well, the trick is storage. Asparagus likes moisture, so try wrapping a damp paper towel around the bottom of the stalks, and placing them in an open bag (via Does it Go Bad). This will likely give buy you a few more days. Better yet, put asparagus in a jar or glass with about an inch of water and store them upright with a loose covering like a plastic bag on top. With this method, you might be able to squeeze a week more than normal in the fridge out of them. Asparagus by itself will go bad after 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Thankfully, you can also freeze asparagus in a pinch. If that special dinner you were saving them for goes out the window, you can follow a few steps to saving them for up to a year frozen (via The Spruce Eats). The secret is blanching, or another way of saying, boiling quickly and cooling down. According to the University of Minnesota, blanching halts or slows the process responsible for which diminishing flavor, color and, texture With asparagus, place them in boiling water for a minute or two, depending on thickness, plunge them into ice water, then let them dry before freezing in a tightly sealed bag (as little air as possible).