Freezing Asparagus

Freezing asparagus by either the traditional or vacuum sealing are both excellent ways to preserve the delicate flavor of asparagus for use throughout the year. Asparagus freezes well and can be used in all recipes requiring fresh asparagus, including casseroles, soups, and steamed.

Because freezing suspends the process of degradation from over-ripe spears, it is, perhaps the best way to preserve the texture and colour of the fresh spears.

Vacuum sealing asparagus is the preferred method of freezing asparagus because it removes the cold air that causes freezer burn, or oxidation and dis-colorization of the spears, which can cause the spears to have an off taste that will spoil the flavor and texture of the asparagus.

Traditional Freezing Method

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

Large Cooking Pot or Large Pot with a Steamer Rack

Kitchen tongs or Slotted Spoon

* Suitable freezer containers

METHOD:

1. Wash and trim off any woody stem base from the spears.

2. Bring the water in either a Steamer or Large pot to a boil.

3. Dip the Asparagus spears into the steamer or large pot of water for 30 seconds and remove to cool. Some people choose to blanch the spears for two to four minutes, which is fine. I find that the longer the Asparagus spears are cooked before they are frozen the less texture and flavor they have when they are thawed. It will be a matter of choice to how long you blanch...experiment to find which times are best for your needs.

4. Pack the spears closely, alternating spear direction to allow for the difference in thickness, into the freezer containers whole or chop them into pieces for use in casseroles or soups later.

5. Top off with a little water to keep the Asparagus from being exposed to the frigid air and seal.

5. Label with contents and date frozen and place the containers in the freezer. Be careful not to add too many containers to your freezer all at once, as it could lower the temperature in the freezer compartment, jeopardizing the quality of the produce inside.

Vacuum Sealing Method

The absolute best way to preserve the texture and most of the flavor of Asparagus is with the aid of a vacuum sealer. The sealer draws the air out of the custom cut bags to provide an air tight seal. It enables you to skip the blanching process, as the spears will be frozen quickly, allowing for better color, texture and taste when the spears are thawed for cooking later.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

A Vacuum Sealer Machine

Suitable bag material

Permanent Marker for Labeling & Dating

METHOD:

1. Wash the Asparagus spears thoroughly to remove soil and any garden debris or insects off of the cut spears and trim, if necessary, to fit into the bag.

2. Make the bag by cutting off a portion of the roll of bag material that will accommodate the length of the spears and seal one of the opened ends.

3. Place the Asparagus spears into the bag, taking care to keep them pointing in the same general direction, to help make a thorough, air-tight seal.

4. Place the open end of the bag into the sealer, lining up the edges and making sure that the ends line up correctly in the sealer and start the sealer.

5. Adjust the bag to assist with the removal of the air during the sealing process and wait for the sealer to stop.

6. Release the suction from the sealer and open.

7. The air should be completely removed. If, when you open the sealer you notice air seeping back into the bag, reseal it. The hot seal may not have been complete.

8. Label and place in the freezer for future use.

NOTE: Sealers vary somewhat in this procedure, so be sure to follow any additional instructions which came with your specific sealer.