Asparagus belongs to the lily family and is a cousin to onions and garlic. It is primarily a spring vegetable, which is native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, but now widely available in America. The stems of this perennial plant are delicious, therefore, it is the shoots of the asparagus plant which are eaten. However, the shoots can be eaten only till the buds are closed; as when the buds start opening, the shoots become woody and are not fit to be eaten.
Asparagus is a storehouse of nutrients. It is a rich source of vitamin K and antioxidants. It also has antiviral and antifungal properties. Women who are going the family way or want to have a baby benefit a great deal from eating asparagus, as it is rich in folic acid. Other than vitamin K, it is also a rich source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and zinc. To be able to gain from the benefits of asparagus, you should know how to go about freezing fresh asparagus, so that you can pull them out of the refrigerator and savor them as and when you want.
Tips on Freezing Fresh Asparagus
During the start of the summer months, it is not unnatural to see asparagus on sale in a number of stores. I always make the most of such sales, as I stack up on asparagus and freeze them for later use, when it is not as readily available. The most important technique for freezing fresh asparagus is to freeze them when they are most fresh. This will ensure that they retain maximum amount of nutrients. Having said that we will now turn towards the process of freezing asparagus.
- The first step is to wash the asparagus spears properly under running water. It is best not to soak the asparagus in water for a long time, as it can damage the asparagus sears.
- After the asparagus have been cleaned, chop off the bottom ends of asparagus and cut the asparagus into lengths, which are best suitable for freezing the asparagus in freezer bags or containers.
- It is best to make separate batches of asparagus depending on their thickness. When you have to cook asparagus later, they will take the same amount of time. Also if they are of different sizes, then there are chances that some asparagus sears may get overcooked, while some may get undercooked.
- In a large pot bring water to rolling boil. Immerse the thick asparagus sears in the water and let them stay there for about 5 minutes.
- In the meantime in another pot pour cold water and add ice to it to make ice-cold water.
- Remove the sears from boiling water and place them in ice-cold water.
- In the meanwhile place the medium spears in boiling water for 3 minutes and repeat the ice water procedure.
- At last place the tender asparagus sears into the water and keep them in the hot water for about 2 minutes. Remove them from hot water and place in ice water.
- Remove the sears from ice-cold water after about 5 to 6 minutes, and place them in freezer bags or containers.
- When you pack the sears, you will have to ensure there is no head space left.
- Seal the containers, label them and place them in the freezer.
- You can use the frozen asparagus for about 8 to 9 months after freezing them.
Now that you know how to freeze fresh asparagus, you will want to know how should the frozen asparagus be used. Do not defrost asparagus before cooking. Remove them from the freezer when you are ready to cook. If you thaw frozen asparagus, then make sure you use all of it immediately. It should not be frozen again. There are different ways to cook asparagus, like steaming, microwaving, boiling, roasting in the oven or by stir frying. I also use asparagus to make curries. You can try the different methods and decide, which suits you the best.