This Wacky Storage Method Will Save Your Asparagus

That's right: Keep these stalks upright like a bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer.

February 16, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

Spring is a month away but if you think that I haven’t attempted to cook with the sad stalks of asparagus that are available in grocery stores right now, you are mistaken. Sure, they do the job for a quick roasted side dish, especially when sprinkled with crunchy, cheesy breadcrumbs. But asparagus soup, crostatas, vegetable frittatas, and spring-forward pasta recipes will have to wait until a robin gently taps me on the shoulder and says, “it’s time.”

Whether there’s still snow on the ground in your area or you can finally step outside with just a light jean jacket, you should treasure these precious green stalks. If you’re buying asparagus, take care of it properly. The best way to store fresh asparagus is like a bouquet of tulips: aka upright in a glass jar with an inch of water. This will prevent the asparagus tips from getting mushy and smelly, while maintaining the stalk’s bright green color. Plus, a large mason jar or tall drinking glass will help to accommodate the towering stalks so that they can stay fresh for days. “Even better, trim the bottom one inch from the bottom before sticking them in a vase in your fridge,” says Food52 community member Alyssa.

In general, fresh asparagus should be refrigerated but with this method, you don’t have to do so. “If you keep them upright in water, as in previous answer you really don't need to refrigerate them. It's fine to keep them on the counter for a few days this way,” writes user pierino.

Once they're standing tall and proud, loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag and store the jar in the fridge (again not a must, but this is our preferred method). Just make sure not to wrap them too tightly (ditch tying the bag with a constrictive ribber band!) because the tops need air circulation; otherwise, they’ll turn mushy within a day or two, thus ruining the stalks that we’ve all waited so long to purchase.

Share your favorite ways to cook with asparagus in the comments below!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • mlledaffodil
  • Margaret
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  • ElleT
  • Frank


mlledaffodil February 27, 2022
Pretty widely known —asparagus is a grass that keeps sucking up water to stay firm. Key points: just an inch or so water suffices or ends get mushy; poke holes in the plastic bag tent or condensation makes mushy; and NEVER stand in ice —freezes cell walls, so you get droopy asparagus when they collapse. Beware grocery stores using ice instead of water—if stalks are discolored, asparagus is already compromised
Btw, same technique works for artichokes
Margaret February 27, 2022
I use a tall open deli container with an inch or so of water on the bottom to hold a generous amount of asparagus that has had the unusable bottom part of the stalks snapped off. Then refrigerate with a produce bag loosely fitted over the top. Keeps for several days for those of us singles who may not use large quantities at a time.
Beth February 27, 2022
I use those produce "green bags" and that seems to work very well, but I'll give this a try!
ElleT February 27, 2022
Doesn't everyone store asparagus this way? I keep mine in a mug instead of a vase. A bunch usually fits perfectly.
Frank February 27, 2022
I've been doing this my entire life, sans the plastic bag. I love my asparagus and wish it wasn't so expensive.