How to season asparagus

Related Articles

Hardy, long-living garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is the only edible species among all the asparagus fern types. According to North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, it grows perennially within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2a to 9a, where it can live for a decade or more under the right conditions. The tall, feathery fronds can take on a ragged appearance at the end of the growing season, which prompts many gardeners to cut them back. Cutting back the fronds in autumn will improve the plant’s appearance during the winter months, but keeping them in place until the following spring can be beneficial in colder climates that experience harsh winter weather.

Asparagus can be cut back in autumn in mild winter climates or left until spring in areas with cold, harsh winters.

Cutting Back Asparagus in Spring or Autumn

Asparagus fronds turn yellow at the end of summer and then take on a dead, brownish appearance with the autumn frost. Their height and distinctive appearance means that the dead fronds are highly visible in the garden, so many gardeners choose to cut them back. Autumn cutting is best in mild-winter climates where asparagus will overwinter without damage and in areas where asparagus beetles are common. Cutting back asparagus in autumn will eliminate the habitat for asparagus beetles, which overwinter in the dead fronds and will damage the edible spears in spring.

In harsh winter climates, asparagus fronds should be left in place during the winter months. According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the fronds will hold a layer of snow that will help insulate the asparagus crown from the worst of the cold. Cutting back asparagus in spring should be done after the snow melts but before the fresh new spears emerge from the ground. If asparagus beetles are present in the garden, cut back the fronds in autumn and cover the crown with a layer of straw to insulate it from the cold.

Cutting Back Asparagus

The first step when cutting back asparagus must be cleaning and sanitizing the pruning shears. Wash the shears in hot water with a splash of dishwashing liquid added, rinse well and pat them dry with a clean towel. The University of California Cooperative Extension recommends sanitizing pruning shears in a 10-percent bleach solution made of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. Soak the blades for 30 minutes to kill any pathogens. Be sure to rinse off the bleach solution because it can corrode or damage metal pruning blades.

Cut back the asparagus fronds to ground level using the shears. Work from the outside of the plant rather than stepping into the center of the clump, which can damage the crown. Asparagus fronds sometimes harbor the eggs of asparagus beetles, so they should not be left in the garden. The University of Minnesota Extension recommends burning the fronds or placing them in the yard waste container so they can be completely removed from the property.

Caring for Asparagus

Cutting back asparagus is only one part of their seasonal care. Asparagus plants benefit from fertilizer after being cut back in spring. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recommends feeding established asparagus plants with a 10-20-10 fertilizer at a rate of 2 pounds per 20 feet of row length. Apply the fertilizer before new growth emerges but after pruning back the fronds. Water thoroughly after feeding to distribute the fertilizer around the roots.

Asparagus ferns need a long period of uninterrupted growth after the spring harvest to gather and store energy for the winter months. It’s best to leave the fronds in place during the summer, so the plant can receive energy from the sun. Just after the last harvest, weed the rows and feed with nitrogen fertilizer, such as 21-0-0, at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 20 feet of row. After feeding, spread a 3-inch layer of fresh straw over the bed to keep weeds down for the rest of the season.

May 22, 2021 by Maria Hohenthal categories: Food

  • Newsletter

How long does asparagus last? Storing the shoots properly can help extend their shelf-life and buy you a bit more time to use them. We’ll show you how to store asparagus properly in order to keep it fresher for longer.

How long you can store asparagus depends on whether it’s peeled, unpeeled, or already cooked. In this article, you’ll learn how to best store asparagus and what to keep in mind when storing leftover asparagus dishes.

Asparagus season runs from late February until the end of June, with April being the peak of the season. If possible, it’s best to buy asparagus locally. Not only will it taste better, but the carbon footprint is also smaller since the vegetables don’t have to be transported over long-distance routes. Take it a step further and buy organic asparagus to ensure the vegetables are free of synthetic chemical pesticides.

Storing It Upright

The best way to keep unpeeled asparagus fresh is to store it upright in water — just like a bouquet of flowers. Here’s the best way to store asparagus:

  • Remove the rubber band. The rubber cuts into the asparagus spear and causes it to dry out more quickly. Tip: Don’t throw away the bands, reuse them!
  • Check all stalks for rotten or moldy spots and cut them off if necessary. Pay special attention to the delicate tips.
  • Remove any spoiled asparagus spears.
  • Place the spears in a vase or pitcher filled with about an inch of water.
  • You can also cover the tips with a plastic bag, or wrap them with a beeswax cloth to protect them from wilting.
  • Place the “bouquet” in a cool place without direct sunlight. The refrigerator, cellar, or pantry are also suitable.

Green asparagus can be stored this way for 3 to 4 days.

How to Keep Peeled Asparagus Fresh

If you’ve already peeled your asparagus, you don’t have much time before it starts to lose its freshness. Ideally, you should use up any asparagus that you peeled within a few hours.

  • Store peeled asparagus in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Use peeled spears within three to four hours.
  • If you peeled too much and can’t use it all at once, you can also freeze asparagus. Simply portion into jars or glass containers and place in the freezer.

Frozen asparagus will keep for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use it, remember not to thaw it out before cooking. Otherwise, the spears will become too soft.

How to season asparagus

Wild asparagus is actually no different than what’s in the grocery store. We’ll look at what you should know when…

How to Store Asparagus Dishes?

Asparagus dishes should be eaten as fresh as possible. Even once cooked, the green spears remain fresh only for a limited time. If you store cooked asparagus for too long, it will start to taste bitter.

For best results, use the following tips when storing your leftovers:

  • Pack the leftovers in an airtight container
  • To store asparagus sauce or soup, you can also use a small pot with a lid.
  • Keep the asparagus dish refrigerated and consume within one day.
  • Reheat the dish completely before eating.
  • Asparagus soup will stay fresh for up to two days.

Tip: If you aren’t planning on eating your asparagus dish within one day, simply freeze the meal in portions in the freezer.

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Spargel lagern: Richtig aufbewahren für mehr Frische

Asparagus is now a year-round treat, but nothing can beat the fresh British spears that appear in spring. Photograph: La Bicicleta Vermella/Getty Images

Asparagus is now a year-round treat, but nothing can beat the fresh British spears that appear in spring. Photograph: La Bicicleta Vermella/Getty Images

From tarts to salads and soups to puddings, asparagus is one of our most versatile vegetables – and right now it’s at its freshest. Here are some inspiring ideas to try at home

Last modified on Thu 13 May 2021 13.52 BST

W hen asparagus season finally commences in Britain (from about the end of April to the end of June), we can often feel a bit guilty for giving those first spears anything but the simplest treatment: simmered until just done, drained and served, that’s it. Radical innovation, you might think, is best saved for the off-season, when the only available asparagus has journeyed thousands of miles and looks it. But variety doesn’t have to be complicated – there are lots of ways to liven up a serving of asparagus without overwhelming it. I don’t know exactly how many but, as usual, I stopped at 17.

Arguably even the simplest treatments aren’t foolproof – the tapered shape of an asparagus spear presents an intractable culinary problem: even after trimming, the fat bottoms are always going to take longer to cook than the pointy tips. For years I resorted to standing them up in the water for a few minutes, so the bottoms got some extra immersion, but they alway fell over as soon as I let go. One day I thought: leave the rubber band on. Then I thought: maybe that’s what the rubber band is for?

Hollandaise may be the traditional accompaniment, but Thomasina Miers serves simmered asparagus with an anchoiade, a garlicky sauce of anchovies and walnuts that will never go as wrong as hollandaise sometimes can. For a simple lunch, or a slightly complicated breakfast, try your simmered asparagus with a poached egg and polenta, as Bruce Poole does.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s roasted asparagus with pine nuts and sourdough crumbs. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

You can, of course, grill asparagus spears on a barbecue, but this will require your unwavering attention, otherwise they will burn or fall through the bars, or both. Roasting asparagus in the oven is just as elemental, and a little more forgiving. For an extra touch of elegance, Yotam Ottolenghi layers lightly roasted asparagus – cooked for about eight minutes – with pine nuts and sourdough crumbs, topped with a basil and lemon dressing.

If your kitchen facilities are limited, you can microwave your asparagus in a damp paper towel – some people prefer it. It is even possible, if less than desirable, to cook asparagus in a toaster. I should know – I once almost set fire to my kitchen trying. I include my improvised recipe here not as a recommendation, but as a warning from history: if you’re going to try this at home, don’t do it the way I did it.

Fresh, in-season asparagus doesn’t need to be cooked at all. For this basic ribboned asparagus salad it is combined with cucumber, tomatoes and an avocado dressing. Once you’ve got the hang of ribboning – it’s basically peeling, except the peelings are the bits you keep – you can also try Nigel Slater’s asparagus, carrot and samphire salad. Even steaming the samphire is optional here.

Pasta with asparagus, lemon and green peas. Photograph: KateSmirnova/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pasta with asparagus is another option without too much fuss involved. In this recipe for asparagus and lemon spaghetti with peas, for example, the stalks are added to the spaghetti water for the last three minutes of cooking; when they’re done, it’s done. Ottolenghi’s asparagus cannelloni employs fresh lasagne sheets, into which the spears are rolled along with a coriander pesto, before being smothered in a yoghurt béchamel and baked for 35 minutes. He also does a mean asparagus bread pudding, if you can get your head round that.

Nuno Mendes’s asparagus migas calls for both green and white asparagus spears, some of which are sliced into rounds to become part of the migas: a sort of bread-and-greens paste which is fried into a patty, over which the remaining stalks are served. Even if you can’t find any white asparagus, it’s still worth trying. Meera Sodha, meanwhile, combines asparagus with cashews to make a classic Keralan thoran.

Anna Jones’s roasted tomato, leek and asparagus tart. Photograph: Matt Russell/The Guardian

And here, for your consideration, not one, but two asparagus tarts. The first, from Margot Henderson, is simplicity itself: asparagus, goat’s cheese, eggs and creme fraiche, poured into a cooked pastry shell and baked until set. The second, from Anna Jones, adds roasted cherry tomatoes, leeks, rosemary and mustard to the mix.

A seasonal asparagus surplus provides a good opportunity to make soup, and soup is a good way to make use of the woody parts of the asparagus stalk you would otherwise discard; even stumps that are too tough to puree can go in the stock. In her perfect version of asparagus soup, thickened with a little flour and cream, Felicity Cloake suggests you might even want to hold back the tender tips to use in another recipe where they will get more notice.

If you can imagine asparagus season extending into cold soup season, Tom Hunt’s chilled almond and asparagus soup is made with asparagus ends only. You might have to save them up to get enough.

Lastly, sushi is one possible use for your reserved asparagus tips. As Jamie Oliver shows, it’s not too difficult to make as long as you can source all the right stuff, although the few times I have made sushi I quickly grew impatient with the process and ended up just shoving the constituent ingredients in my mouth in turn. And you know what? That works too.

How to season asparagus

Planting asparagus facts

  • Hardiness: Hardy perennial can withstand winters with protection in colder areas; should be mulched in autumn.
  • Planting: One-year crowns (vegetative propagation) in early spring. Can also be started from seed. Full sun requires direct light at least 6 hours/day; prefers 8 – 10 hours/day.
  • Days to maturity: Begin harvesting lightly in years 2 and 3.
  • Spacing: 18″ in-row x 4′ to 5′ between rows; or in wide beds of three rows with plants 18 inches apart in all directions.
  • Fertilizer needs: Medium-high requirement for nutrients, either from soil organic matter or fertilizers. Add organic matter prior to planting; apply nitrogen each year in early spring; side-dress after harvest; benefits from yearly top-dressing of compost. Refer to Fertilizing Vegetables for details.
  • Approximate yield (per 10-foot row): 3 to 4 pounds/year.

Asparagus problem

Growing and care of asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that lives from 12 to 15 years or longer. It is one of the most valuable of the early vegetables and is well adapted to freezer storage. During the harvest period, the spears develop daily from underground crowns.

Recommendation for planting a new asparagus bed

  • Select all-male hybrid varieties. They are more productive and disease-resistant than older varieties;
  • Start asparagus either from seed or from one to two-year-old crowns. Crowns are usually shipped and set out in March or April;
  • Starting plants from seed requires an extra year before harvest. They are slow to germinate and should be transplanted in June;
  • Purchased roots and crowns should be full and slightly moist; not shriveled. Roots that are dry brown or soggy black indicate poor storage and will probably give poor results;
  • Check crowns for signs of viable buds. Inspect plants for signs of insects or disease; and
  • Once you have the plants, keep the roots moist (but not soaking wet) by misting occasionally, and do not allow them to freeze or dry out. If it is necessary to keep the crowns for more than a few days, store them in a cool place or heel them in a trench of moist soil in a shaded location
  • Choose a site with good drainage and full sun. The tall ferns of asparagus may shade other plants, so plan accordingly. Prepare the bed as early as possible and enrich it with compost.
  • Traditionally, asparagus crowns are set in a trench 12-inches deep and 12- to 18-inches wide, with 4 to 5 feet between trenches. But many gardeners are successful in placing crowns in the bottom of a 6-inch trench. Crowns should be spaced 15 to 18 inches apart and raised slightly above the roots. Remove any rotted roots before planting. Spread the roots out over a 2-inch mound of soil at the bottom of the trench and cover the crown completely with soil. Firm well and keep the bed well watered.
  • Weed the bed each spring before the first shoots come up, to avoid accidentally breaking off spears. During the production period, it is best to pull weeds rather than use a hoe.

Harvesting asparagus

  • Asparagus shoots or spears should not be harvested the first season after crowns are set. Harvest lightly for 3 to 4 weeks the second year. The fleshy root system needs to develop and store food reserves for subsequent seasons. Plants harvested too heavily too soon often become weak and spindly.
  • For asparagus started from seed, do not harvest at all the first two seasons, and harvest lightly the third. When the asparagus plants are in their fourth season, harvest for 8 to 10 weeks per year.
  • Harvest spears daily during the harvest period. The 6- to 8-inch spears should be snapped off just below the soil surface. If the asparagus is allowed to get much taller, the bases of the spears will be tough and will have to be cut. Cutting too deeply can injure the crown buds, which produce the next spears. To blanch (whiten) the spears, mound soil around them, or otherwise exclude light so they do not form chlorophyll in the stalks.
  • Allow the spears to grow once the harvest is over (after 8 to 10 weeks). Some gardeners prefer to support the growing foliage with stakes and strings to keep the bed tidy. In high-wind areas, it is a good idea to plant the rows parallel to the prevailing winds so that the plants support each other to some extent.

There are several ways to extend the harvest period

  • Plant at different depths (4”, 6”, 8”, 10”). The shallower plantings will come up first and can be harvested while the deeper plantings are just forming. This method will result in a slightly longer harvest, but the plants may be less vigorous.
  • Remove mulch from half of the asparagus bed and leave mulch on the other half. The exposed soils will warm up more quickly, and the crowns will sprout earlier. Remove mulch from the second bed when spears begin to appear.
  • Plant double the amount of asparagus needed for your household. Harvest half of the plants as you normally would in spring and early summer and allow the ferns to grow in the other half of the asparagus planting. Then, cut the ferns in the un-harvested plot in late July. The crowns will send up new spears, which can be harvested till late in the season. Keep plants well-watered. A light mulch will aid in spear emergence. When using this method, harvest the spring bed only in spring and the fall bed only in fall. Otherwise, you risk weakening the crowns.

Winter care of asparagus

In all asparagus plantings, cut the foliage down to 2-inch stubs after frost when the foliage yellows, and before the red berries fall off (all-male hybrids don’t produce berries). A 4- to 6- inch mulch will help control weeds and add organic matter and nutrients.

Keep those spears in top shape.

Related To:

How to season asparagus

asparagus spears

asparagus on wooden surface

Photo by: Diana Taliun / Getty Images

Diana Taliun / Getty Images

How to season asparagus

Get a Premium Subscription to the Food Network Kitchen App

Download Food Network Kitchen to sign up and get access to live and on-demand cooking classes, in-app grocery ordering, meal planning, an organized place to save all your recipes and much more.

By Susan Choung for Food Network Kitchen

Is it even spring if you don’t have asparagus? Like robins and daffodils, the apple-green spears standing tall at the market herald the arrival of the season. And, boy, are they a sight for kale-weary eyes.

The earliest harvest has pencil-thin stalks that become more plump and meaty as the months go on. Try to buy asparagus from a vendor that keeps the bundles standing upright in water so they can absorb moisture up to the top. Look for firm stalks with smooth skin. The tips should be tight buds tinged the color of lavender flowers. Avoid asparagus that has dry, woody or cracked bottoms, which are inedibly tough.

Asparagus tastes best when cooked the day you buy it. If that’s not in the cards, store them as you would store cut flowers: Trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in a glass or jar with about an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag then refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Change the water as it gets cloudy to keep the asparagus perky and fresh.

If you just can’t spare the room in the fridge, wrap the asparagus in wet paper towels instead. Cover it with a plastic bag before refrigerating.

How to season asparagus

Come April, you’ll find me stalking my farmers’ market for asparagus. Take advantage of its short season with these easy recipes and learn more about its healthy benefits (including, yes, what causes your pee to stink).

Asparagus season runs from late March to June. Though you probably find it year round at the grocery store, it’s never as tasty and three times as expensive. And who knows how far it traveled to get there?! During the season, look for freshly-harvested asparagus at grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Did you know that asparagus is a member of the lily family? Yep. And it’s pretty darn difficult to grow, which is why it can be pricey (but totally worth the occasional splurge). Typical asparagus varieties include green (most common), white (the same kind as green, only grown underground without exposure to sunlight) and purple (commonly grown in Europe). White asparagus has a milder flavor than green, and purple has a subtle fruity flavor.

One cup of chopped asparagus has only 30 calories, but a boatload of nutrients. Asparagus is an excellent source of folate and thiamin (important B vitamins) and also a good source of fiber, iron, vitamin C and beta-carotene. It also has asparagine, a special plant compound, which gives asparagus a diuretic effect. Blame that guy for the mysterious odor your urine gets after you eat asparagus.

Quick cooking makes asparagus taste amazing. Though these spears have a unique flavor, asparagus goes well with everything from mushrooms to beef to seafood. Gently steam stalks until just tender and wrap with smoked salmon or top with a light dressing. I love seasoning mine with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and grilling or roasting it to bring out a sweet, nutty flavor. Chopped asparagus also makes a great addition to pasta salad like in this picnic-friendly Portobello and Asparagus Salad from Paula Deen (our first Healthy Eats-approved recipe from the butter queen!). It’s also great with stir-fry and risotto.

Shopping Tip: Look for asparagus bunches that are firm, straight and brightly colored. Make sure the feathery tips are tightly closed. Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or upright in a container with 1 inch of water. Use them within 2-3 days. You can also blanch and freeze fresh asparagus for up to 8 months.

    Recipes to try:
  • Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles
  • Asparagus with Caper Dressing
  • Portobello and Asparagus Salad
  • Garden Risotto

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

If you think of asparagus, you should think of Limburg. In this beautiful landscape, you can witness this vegetable being harvested every spring. And then enjoy it in the most tasty dishes. We heartily recommend asparagus!

  • The asparagus season in Holland lasts just two months.
  • Limburg is the home of asparagus in Holland.
  • Taste the wonderful flavour of asparagus, which we also call ‘white gold’.

Asparagus season

Asparagus season lasts about two months in Holland. The first asparagus peek from the ground early in spring, around February or early March. They are traditionally harvested from the second Thursday in April until 24 June.

Asparagus from Limburg

Several regions in Holland grow asparagus but Limburg is the main asparagus-producing area. Spring in Limburg is therefore characterised by ‘white gold’, so this is the perfect moment to discover how asparagus is cultivated and harvested. And, of course, to try the broad variety of dishes in which asparagus is the star ingredient.

By loading the photos, you accept that Holland.com uses cookies to share data with third parties as described in our privacy statement (holland.com/privacy).

Cycle through Limburg’s asparagus fields

This spring, discover all you ever wanted to know about asparagus. Take the asparagus route to explore how this vegetable is cultivated and harvested. And try some of the dishes in which they star. This 47 km cycling route starts in Arcen and guides you through beautiful asparagus fields and past great restaurants.
Starts at: Raadhuisstraat 7 Arcen (lunchroom ’t Zoete Genot).

2 wonderful restaurants that serve asparagus:

Limburg is the main asparagus region in Holland. As a result, many restaurants serve white gold in spring. These are our 2 favourites:

1. Brienen aan de Maas ★☆☆

This place was voted ‘Best asparagus restaurant’ for a reason! Brienen aan de Maas serves excellent asparagus dishes in a beautiful environment.

Address: Grotestraat 11, Well

2. In de Witte Dame

In de Witte Dame is a stylish brasserie in the centre of the asparagus region. They serve twelve different dishes, all of which feature the best and freshest asparagus as the main ingredient.Adres:

Address: Pastoor Vullinghsplein 14, Grubbenvorst

Keep those spears in top shape.

Related To:

How to season asparagus

asparagus spears

asparagus on wooden surface

Photo by: Diana Taliun / Getty Images

Diana Taliun / Getty Images

How to season asparagus

Get a Premium Subscription to the Food Network Kitchen App

Download Food Network Kitchen to sign up and get access to live and on-demand cooking classes, in-app grocery ordering, meal planning, an organized place to save all your recipes and much more.

By Susan Choung for Food Network Kitchen

Is it even spring if you don’t have asparagus? Like robins and daffodils, the apple-green spears standing tall at the market herald the arrival of the season. And, boy, are they a sight for kale-weary eyes.

The earliest harvest has pencil-thin stalks that become more plump and meaty as the months go on. Try to buy asparagus from a vendor that keeps the bundles standing upright in water so they can absorb moisture up to the top. Look for firm stalks with smooth skin. The tips should be tight buds tinged the color of lavender flowers. Avoid asparagus that has dry, woody or cracked bottoms, which are inedibly tough.

Asparagus tastes best when cooked the day you buy it. If that’s not in the cards, store them as you would store cut flowers: Trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in a glass or jar with about an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag then refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Change the water as it gets cloudy to keep the asparagus perky and fresh.

If you just can’t spare the room in the fridge, wrap the asparagus in wet paper towels instead. Cover it with a plastic bag before refrigerating.