Because asparagus is such a short-seasoned vegetable, it’s important to know how to preserve it a variety of ways if you want to enjoy it throughout the rest of the year. If you know how to dehydrate asparagus, then you’ve got a key ingredient for your casseroles, soups and sauces all winter long.
Since we are huge fans of asparagus, a good cream of asparagus soup as the snow falls is always welcome. To prepare for that, we keep all the ends and pieces that aren’t long enough to pickle in the late spring and pull out our dehydrator.
Here’s how to dehydrate asparagus yourself:
Preparing Asparagus For Dehydration
Always start with young, fresh asparagus when possible. If you will dehydrate the tops/heads, pick only asparagus with tightly closed tips. When possible, prepare asparagus the same day you harvest it.
Wash all asparagus thoroughly, making sure to get rid of all dirt, and any bugs that may have come along with it. If you will dehydrate your entire asparagus loot, sort into small, medium, and large thickness at this point.
Using a knife, carefully remove as many of the scales as you can. (I usually don’t have the patience to do many more than the bigger ones, or those easily grasped.) Cut all your asparagus to lengths ¾-1″ long.
How To Blanch The Asparagus
I find that a quick blanch will help the asparagus to retain it’s color better, and have read that it also helps retain more vitamins.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and with a deep-fry or other wire cooking basket, steam blanch your asparagus in batches for 3-4 minutes apiece. When time is up, move the basket over into ice water for a minute.
Remove your asparagus when cool and place on your dehydrator screens.
I like to start this process with the thicker asparagus, and let those be the trays on the bottom of the dehydrator.
Continue this process until all asparagus have been steam blanched, iced, and placed on trays in the dehydrator.
Time To Dehydrate Asparagus
Turn your dehydrator on to the vegetable setting (mine is 125°), close the lid, and dehydrate until brittle. Since asparagus is over 90% water, expect this to take awhile. I start taking out the smaller pieces on the upper trays in about 4 hours, and leave the thicker pieces on the bottom trays (as well as the head pieces) for a bit longer.
Re-hydration is easy with warm water. We prefer to use ours in soups, sauces, and casseroles.
What will you use your asparagus in?