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How To Know When Asparagus Is Bad 5 Foolproof Ways

Quick Answer: What Are The Best Ways To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad?

If you’re unsure whether or not your asparagus has gone bad, there are 5 foolproof ways to determine this. The top 5 indicators include texture, smell, color, whether or not your asparagus has mold on it and the expiration date provided on the packaging. Texture relates to sliminess and shriveled stalks. In terms of smell, a strong or foul odor will also indicate your asparagus is spoiled. In addition, if your asparagus changes color at all, you’ll definitely want to throw it away. Finally, if you see any signs of fuzzy, white spots or any black areas, your asparagus has developed mold on it and you should not consume it.

Getting enough veggies into your diet is imperative to a healthy lifestyle, but if you open the fridge and those greens are giving off strange vibes, we’d definitely be reconsidering eating them. 

Asparagus is one of those greens that can easily go past its prime without you even noticing. When asparagus is good, it’s fresh, vibrant and crisp.

In this state, asparagus is extremely healthy and full of nutrients, including fiber and vitamins C and A. It is even known to improve gut health as well as lower blood pressure. 

Unfortunately, when asparagus goes bad, all of these health benefits disappear and you are left with nothing but spoiled food.

Which, when it comes to asparagus, is extremely disappointing. If you’re familiar with purchasing asparagus, you’ll know what we’re talking about. 

Asparagus is a spring vegetable. If you buy this produce during off seasons, it can be quite pricey- hence why you don’t want it to go to waste. 

Although there are obvious signs of spoilage, when asparagus initially goes bad it might be difficult to identify whether or not it has actually expired. 

In today’s fast-paced society, life is too busy to have to worry about possibly eating rotten food (not to mention the ailments you may contract post-eating), which is exactly why we are here to share with you 5 foolproof ways of being able to recognize spoiled asparagus. 

If your asparagus passes any of the following texture, smell, color or mold tests, it has likely gone bad and we would highly recommend not consuming it. 

Read below for the details!

How to Tell if Asparagus is Bad - Tips & Tricks

How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Texture? 

When determining whether or not your asparagus is bad, a great indicator is the texture.

Different parts of the asparagus will show different signs of spoilage, so it’s important to examine the entire bunch.

Indicator Description 
Leafy Part When the leafy part of the asparagus is healthy, its texture will be very crisp. This, however, changes as it starts to go bad. 
As the top of the asparagus begins to spoil it will lose its crispness and become soft. When it’s significantly past its prime, the leafy part may appear moist and slimy.
Once this happens, it’s very important that you throw your asparagus away.
Keep in mind that some moisture is totally normal. It’s when it becomes excessive and is accompanied by other indicators, such as a bad odor or mold.  
StalkWhen asparagus goes bad, a similar process will occur to the stalk of the asparagus. 
In its prime, the stalk will be strong but will have a little give when you squeeze it.
This is a good sign that the stalk contains moisture. 
However, when it begins to spoil, several things occur. 
First, after an extended period of time, the stalk will become mushy and slimy. 
On the other hand, if the humidity control in the fridge is too high, the stalk may dry out. This will cause it to shrivel and wrinkle. 
(This is a result of the change in moisture level. The more dry the stems are, the more cracked and distorted they will look in appearance). 
If you see any of these signs on your asparagus, immediately toss it. 
NOTE: The bottom half of the stalk, even when fresh, is typically harder than the rest of the bunch (it is also bitter, which is why you don’t eat this part). 
How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Texture? 

How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Smell? 

When it comes to identifying whether or not food has gone bad, the most common indicator is smell. 

Have you ever opened your fridge and almost got knocked over by an extremely unpleasant odor? 

If this happens, it’s a good idea to find the root cause of it. If you suspect it might be your asparagus, take a look at the following indicators. 

Bad Odor When asparagus is fresh, it doesn’t actually possess much of a smell. In fact, it doesn’t really smell like anything. 
If you take a whiff of your asparagus and are greeted by a pungent, bad odor, this is definitely an indication that your asparagus has gone bad. 
If you’re feeling unsure, look for some of the other indicators, such as the texture, color, whether or not mold is present or the expiry date. 
How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Smell? 

RELATED: Asparagus Recipes | What Does Asparagus Taste Like

How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Color? 

After smell, the second most obvious indicator of rotten veggies is appearance. 

When you look at your asparagus and your instincts are telling you that something is off visually, you’re probably right. 

The color, in particular, will be a sure sign of this. 

Remember that asparagus can come in three different colors: green, white (sometimes with a bit of yellow) and purple (although this variety is not commonly found in the United States) and a change in any of these hues can be a bad sign. 

For further reassurance, check out these indicators

Indicator Description 
Change In Color In its prime, asparagus will possess a vibrant green hue. In terms of appearance, it should look healthy, fresh and rich in color. 
When the asparagus starts to change in color, you know it has gone bad. 
There are two main colors to look out for when examining your asparagus: a darker green/blackish hue or yellow. 
In the case of yellow asparagus, the color will also darken slightly when it has gone bad.
NOTE: A slight change in color is okay and still safe to eat (as long as it’s not accompanied by shriveling, mold or a bad odor). 
Technically, even eating some yellow spots will not be harmful, but they will taste bitter. 
If only a small section of the asparagus has darkened or is yellow, simply cut these areas out and use the rest. 
How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Color? 

How To Tell If Your Asparagus Is Bad: Mold? 

Hopefully, your asparagus never reaches this state. If it does, don’t worry. We’ve all been there- you haven’t cleaned out the fridge in a while and food gets lost in the abyss that is the back of the crisper drawer. 

You start to notice a strong odor and decide it’s time to go on a hunt to identify where the smell is coming from.

And that’s when you discover it- a shriveled lump of something that is now plagued by white fuzzy patches and menacing, black growths

Mold is extremely unhealthy and, when consumed, can make you very sick. If you’re not sure whether or not the spots on your asparagus are moldy, the indications in the following chart may be able to help you. 

Mold Spots As mentioned in the previous sections, when it’s fresh, asparagus should be a vibrant green (or white/yellow if you’ve purchased this variety). 
When your asparagus begins to go bad, it may start to develop mold. 
This will appear in the form of white, fuzzy spots and should not be consumed under any circumstances. 
When asparagus has really past its prime, the mold may even become black. When this happens, it’s important to discard it immediately. 
NOTE: While it is unsafe to consume areas that are moldy, if only a small part of the asparagus is fuzzy or black, you can simply cut these sections out and consume the rest. 
A good rule of thumb is to cut 1-inch around the moldy areas. 
If you’re unsure, it’s best not to risk it!

How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad: Expiration Date? 

This one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people ignore this indicator and find themselves eating rather unpleasant food. 

Because of the possible health risks, when it comes to veggies, you should always use the expiration date as a reliable benchmark for determining when your asparagus has spoiled. 

Expiration Date If you’ve purchased your asparagus from the grocery store, it should always have a label on it that either states “expiration date” or “best until.” 
This date is there for a reason and will inform you until what day your veggies are safe to eat. 
Unlike other foods, such as meat, veggies may still be okay a day or two after the expiration date. 
If you suspect your asparagus is still fine, check and rule out any of the other indicators, just to be on the safe side. 
How To Tell If Asparagus Is Bad: Expiration Date? 

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Pick Asparagus At The Store?

In order to extend the shelf life of asparagus as much as possible and avoid it from spoiling, the first step is knowing how to choose the best asparagus at the store.

Whether you’re at your local supermarket or are purchasing it from the farmer’s market, these are the key indicators you should look out for when choosing asparagus. 

  • The appearance of the bundles should be a vibrant, bright green.
  • The stalks should be firm to the touch. 
  • The stalks should also be vertical and free from any dryness or wrinkles (they should be smooth).
  • The asparagus should NOT be slimy, dull or limp. 

Tip: a good tip is to choose asparagus with stalks of a similar size. This will aid you in the cooking process as they will all cook evenly and require the same amount of time to be finished. 

How Do You Store Asparagus?

When it comes to raw asparagus, you can store it two different ways:

  • Fridge: you may have noticed in the grocery store that asparagus is always stored standing up and is frequently moistened with water. This is because asparagus requires water to stay fresh. At home, your asparagus should be stored the same way in your fridge to make it last for as long as possible.
  • You can do this either by standing them up in a glass or mason jar with a bit of water in it and covering it loosely with a plastic bag. 
  • Or you can store the asparagus in a damp paper towel and place them in a Ziploc bag in the crisper drawer. 
  • Your asparagus will last 4-5 days this way. 
  • Freezer: Asparagus can also be stored in single file in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to a year. 
  • Keep in mind asparagus can lose a lot of its texture, color and flavor in the freezer. To avoid this, try blanching your asparagus first:
  • Cut asparagus into small pieces
  • Boil a large pot of hot water
  • Place asparagus pieces in the hot water and cook for 2-3 minutes (until they are bright green in color)
  • Immediately place in an ice bath
  • Remove asparagus pieces and pat dry
  • Place pieces on a baking sheet in single file in the freezer until fully frozen
  • Once frozen, put asparagus pieces into a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to a year

If you are looking to store cooked asparagus, this can also be done in both the fridge and freezer. 

  • Fridge: place the asparagus in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days (it will become less crisp every day it is stored this way). 
  • Freezer: you can also freeze cooked asparagus in a freezer-safe bag for up to a year. 

What Will Happen If You Eat Bad Asparagus?

Eating a small amount of spoiled asparagus won’t have any detrimental health risks. 

However, if you’ve consumed larger amounts of bad asparagus, especially if it’s moldy, you may become ill and possibly get food poisoning. 

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, you should seek medical attention. 

Jess Smith