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How to Store Asparagus for Snappy, Fresh Flavor That Stays
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Looking for a stress-free side dish that steals the show every time? We have good news: Asparagus season has arrived. This wholesome and flavorful perennial looks pretty on a plate, pairs well with any menu, and reliably pleases even the pickiest palate. At its peak season in the spring, asparagus spears boast a taste that’s bright, pure, and tinged with subtle sweetness—just add a pat of butter, a squeeze of lemon, and serve. It's a cinch to prepare and a pleasure to devour...as long as it doesn’t spoil too soon. Here's how to store asparagus so your favorite side is always fresh and easy to put away (in more ways than one).

Buy the best bunch

If you want your asparagus to stick around a while, be sure you are bringing home the freshest bunch. No storage solution will save a vegetable that was feeble when you found it. At its peak, asparagus will have a strong, firm stem and tips that stay closed to form a tidy point. If the tips are starting to open up like a spring flower in bloom and the stalk bends like Gumby, there’s a good chance your asparagus is already past its prime. (Note: Even if the tips look good, feel them to make sure they don’t have a mushy or slimy texture—fresh asparagus should be moist, but not soggy.) Finally, color will give you another clue as to the condition of the spears. Look for a rich shade of green that fades only at the very end of the asparagus, and a purple tinge at the tip.

Now you know how to pick flawless produce, so it’s time to talk turkey. This is hands-down the best method for keeping asparagus fresh in the fridge. Best of all, you can pull it off with nothing more than a jar, a plastic bag and two minutes of your time.

Prep the asparagus

The prep work reads more like a list of things you don’t have to do. (We might toast to that tonight.) Don’t wash your asparagus, because it will make them soggy and speed up their decay.  Don’t even remove the rubber band, because it will take longer to trim them if you do. Simply plunk the asparagus down on a cutting board and, in one fell swoop, slice off an inch from the end of the stems. 

Place asparagus in a jar

The trimmed asparagus is now ready for upright storage. Fill a large glass jar or plastic quart container with one inch of cold water and, without removing the rubber band, place the spears upright in the storage container. The water level should be just enough to cover the freshly cut ends, while the rest of the spears remain dry.

Cover asparagus and store

Place a plastic bag over the jar to loosely cover the asparagus and lock in moisture. (You want the asparagus to breathe a little, so don’t rubber band the bag to the jar.) If you’re like us and hate to see your stock of Ziploc bags depleted, just repurpose the produce bag instead.

Place the jarred and bagged bunch of asparagus in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and change the water whenever you notice it’s getting murky. Thanks to smart storage, those spears will stay sprightly for at least four days. The only thing left to do? Sit back and bask in that bright spring flavor at every meal.

5 ways to showcase your snappy asparagus (and impress your friends) 

RELATED: 19 Quick and Easy Baked Asparagus Recipes

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