Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Frozen Asparagus

Last week Save Mart had asparagus on sale for $0.99 per pound!!  Seeing as I love asparagus and we rarely get it for such a great price, I bought about eight pounds of it!  I probably would have bought more if I’d had the freezer space.  As I was paying, the checker and I were talking about what a great deal it was and she inquired about freezing it.  I had already planned on writing this post, but that solidified in my mind that I needed to do it now.

The first step to freezing asparagus is choosing good asparagus at the store.  You want to make sure the flower is tightly closed and not actually starting to flower.  It is edible once it starts to open up, but not as tender and tasty.  If the produce department is doing a good job, they will keep the asparagus in water to help keep it fresh.

When you get it home, you’ll either want to work with it right away or return it to some water until you can get to it.  When I buy a lot at one time, I like to use my cake pans to store the asparagus.  If you only have one or two bunches, a pitcher will do.  One to two inches of water will suffice.

When you are ready to prepare your asparagus for freezing, rinse it under cold water.  You’ll need to get rid of the tough end by snapping it off.  Don’t cut it off as you will not know where the tough part ends.  By snapping it, you will always remove the tough part and be left with the tender part.  You can see photos of this here.

Cut the asparagus into one- to two-inch pieces and dry on a tea towel.  The key to ending up with individually frozen pieces of asparagus rather than an asparagus ice cube is to remove as much of the water as possible.  Transfer all the cut and dried asparagus to a zip-top bag, remove as much excess air as possible, and store in your freezer.

You can cook this frozen asparagus just like you would cook fresh asparagus.  Just be sure to increase the cooking time.  My favorite way to prepare it is sautéing.  Olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder—so yummy!  This lemony version is great too!

Now, one thing to consider when choosing fresh verses frozen is the cost of edible vegetables once the waste has been removed.  Out of about five pounds of asparagus, I had two pounds of waste after I snapped the bottoms (this included a little water weight from washing).  That means I actually paid $1.65 per pound for frozen asparagus.  Wondering how that compares to buying frozen asparagus, I checked out WinCo’s prices yesterday.  They sell a 12-ounce bag for $2.35.  That comes out to $3.13 per pound.  I saved $1.48 per pound by freezing it myeslf!

And those rubber bands that come with the asparagus?  Don’t throw those away!  Those are my favorite kitchen rubber bands.  I use them for all sorts of things, but mostly to close partially used bags of frozen veggies.


Sarah said...

Great post! I've always despaired of how quickly asparagus will start to wilt - it's hard to finish it all in enough time, and it's a crying shame to throw it away since it's usually pretty expensive. I'll definitely try the water trick, and probably freezing, too. It's 99 cents at Sprouts now, too. :)

Carrie said...

Not sure if you've tried this, but I save my asparagus ends and throw them into my batches of veggie stock.

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