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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Freezing Asparagus

It's asparagus season here at the farm and this is the first year that our first 6 beds are producing 100%. And boy are they producing! We are cutting a lot more than we can sell (that will likely change this week as the Oxford farmers market will resume being held weekly instead of monthly. Between that, the store and the Farm Share Initiative I am sure in the coming weeks we will unload pretty much everything we harvest. But that has noty been the case the past 3 days. this means we are building up an aging supply of asparagus so instead of selling stalks I feel are too old I decided it is high time to put up some asparagus for the winter today and that is what I did with around 10 pounds of green and purple asparagus.

below are pictures of what I did.

Asparagus all ready to be blanched. What I have done is trimmed the ends to remove any tough fibrous parts and even things up. If the stalks are too long to fit in the pot of boiling water (which means they will not fit into the freezer bag) I cut the stalk in half.

Asparagus blanching in boiling water for 1 minute

After blanching the asparagus goes straight into very cold water. Ice water best, but a couple of changes of cold tap water will work. What you are doing is shocking the asparagus, getting as much heat as possible out of the stalks and stopping the cooking process.

I get as much excess water off the spears by using a salad spinner

Than they are packed into freezer bags (do not use "Storage Bags", they do not work to prevent freezer burn but freezer bags are pretty good) and almost ready to go into the freezer. I still have to open up a corner of the bag and suck all the air out so they are close to vacuumed pack. this step is important as it cuts down on freezer burn a lot. To do this, open the bag a bit, insert a straw and suck as much air out as you can than close the bag and put into the deep freeze.

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