I managed to pick up four bunches of Asparagus the other day. Initially I was going to freeze it but on closer inspection I found that I could actually dehydrate it. The process for both methods starts off the same.
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Dehydrating /Freezing Asparagus
Take your Asparagus and wash and dry it. These stalks were pre-prepared, but under normal circumstances the woody part of the stem is usually left intact. If you take each stem individually, and bend it slightly, the stem should break naturally at the point where the woody party of the stem changes into the tender stem. Discard the woody part of the stems.
For Freezing: Leave the stems intact.
Then chop up the stem, starting at the head and chop the heads off. Then work your way down the stem. Keep the woodier parts of the stem in one place, the tender pieces in another and the heads in another pile. Dry like for like in the dehydrator. The woodier parts will take longer to dry.
Blanch the Asparagus pieces in boiling water for 2 minutes (after water has come to a rolling boil). I add cold water to the saucepan that they were boiled in then add cold water until all the hot water has gone. Then put in more cold water. The pieces will go a brighter I think prettier green.
After being drowned in cold water and drained.
I then dried in a tea towel and popped the asparagus pieces into the dehydrator at 125 degrees F to dry out. Remember you sorted out the asparagus pieces at the beginning, allocate a tray to each type (the thicker parts of the stem will require longer drying). Turn the trays and manipulate them every so often as those nearer the heat source will dry quicker until thoroughly dry and crisp.
Follow the same procedure with the cold water or iced water which stops the Asparagus from cooking until cold. Drain and pat dry. You can open freeze on a tray, and then pack into bags. This will help the asparagus pieces to move freely in the bag without being stuck to another piece. Pop into your freezer.
From the Dehydrator:
Once cooled and dry (they should be crispy) pack into appropriate storage (mine are going into a glass storage jar) to start with. However you can also powder them (for the Green powder jar - or powder them separately) and use them in soups and casseroles.
My intention is to use them in home made Risotto. I have dried Spinach leaves, now the dried Asparagus and I intend to dehydrate some petit-pois peas and then make my own Pantry Mix of Primavera Risotto. I have bought premade mixes of this in the past and it has been incredibly tasty. I have yet to try this at home, but I think it will work and be a handy Pantry shelf meal to make in a hurry. I can but try. I have seen similar recipes online.
Soak the asparagus heads and pieces for at least 20 minutes in some water before adding to your chosen dish. You can also add some of the liquid that is not soaked up. Or turn it into green powder.
For soups and stews the asparagus pieces can be added straight from the dry state, just make sure that there is a little extra liquid added or top up halfway through cooking.
So another way of preserving asparagus for the winter months in the pantry. I shall certainly be making more as I come across the asparagus especially if it is reduced.
Catch you soon.