asparagus.jpg

Asparagus

What to Look For

Straight spears, green-tinged with purple on the bracts and tightly closed tips. Spears with open or feathered tips decay more rapidly.

Spears should snap before reaching a 90° angle without bending into a U-shape.

Ideal Storage

  • 0°C - 2°C
  • 95 - 100% Relative Humidity

Fresh asparagus is highly perishable and quality will quickly deteriorate if stored above 5°C. It will also gain a bitter taste and lose it's vitamin C content.

At 2°C asparagus can generally last 14-21 days. At 0°C asparagus can last around 10 days, but any longer puts them at risk for chilling injury.

Storage at temperatures above 10°C causes the spears to toughen. High relative humidity prevents the asparagus from losing moisture and glossiness. Asparagus is often shipped in boxes lined with oily paper and a water-saturated pad on the butt end to maintain optimal humidity.

Freezing injury occurs when asparagus is stored at -0.6°C or lower, leaving it with a water-soaked appearance and an extremely soft texture.

Response to Ethylene

Exposure to ethylene causes asparagus spears to toughen up and gain a "woody" texture. In botany this process is called lignification.