Drying Asparagus

Drying Asparagus for long term storage for use in soups and stews, sauces and casseroles can be easily accomplished at home. It is a great way to prepare asparagus for use when going camping, storing food for the winter or preparing for a natural disaster.

PREPARATION:

Wash the Asparagus spears and cut the larger stalks either in half or small pieces (1" or so). Always "snap" the asparagus spears to remove the tough end. The spear will snap at the point that it becomes tender.

PRETREATMENT:

Water Blanching: Choose the natural pretreatment of your choice from the chapter on Drying Basics, such as lemon juice, vinegar and salt, or a saline water solution, and dip the Asparagus Spears and/or pieces into the boiling water bath for 30 to 40 seconds and remove to cool.

Steam Blanching: Choose the natural pretreatment of your choice and steam blanch the Asparagus for 40 to 60 seconds, then remove and let cool slightly.

Spread the pieces onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and load into the dehydrator.

DRYING TIMES:

Using a Commercial Dehydrator: Usually 6 to 8 hours.

Using your Oven: Usually 3 to 4 hours @ 125 degrees F. or longer depending on how many trays used. NOTE: Many newer ovens set their lowest temperature at 170 degrees F. It is fine to dehydrate the asparagus at this higher temperature, as long as you check the trays often and stir the pieces to allow all of the surfaces to dry evenly.

Solar Drying: Usually 8 to 10 hours

Be sure to check the process of the drying occasionally at first, and as the produce nears dehydration, check the progress every 30 minutes or so. Stir the pieces to make sure that all sides have an opportunity to dry thoroughly.

WHEN IS IT DRY:

The Asparagus is thoroughly dry when the spears feel leathery and are brittle to the touch.

RE-HYDRATION:

Soak the Asparagus in unsalted water for 30 minutes or so to re-constitute the vegetable. The usual proportions for soaking the Asparagus is two (2) cups of water to one (1) cup of dehydrated vegetable and soak until tender.