Can you eat 2 week old asparagus?

Quick Answer

It is generally not recommended to eat asparagus that is more than a week old. Asparagus has a short shelf life and will start to deteriorate quickly after harvest. After two weeks, asparagus is likely to be wilted, dried out, and possibly moldy. Eating older asparagus increases your risk of foodborne illness. For best quality and food safety, it is best to eat asparagus within 3-5 days of purchasing.

How Long Does Asparagus Last?

Fresh asparagus has a relatively short shelf life compared to other vegetables. Properly stored, asparagus will last:

  • In the refrigerator – 3 to 5 days
  • In the freezer – 8 to 12 months

The exact shelf life depends on a few factors:

  • Purchasing quality – fresher asparagus will last longer. Avoid wilted or slimy spears.
  • Storage method – Follow proper refrigeration and freezing guidelines.
  • Preparation – Wash and dry spears thoroughly before storage.
  • Variety – Thinner spears deteriorate faster than thicker ones.

General guidelines for maximal freshness are:

  • Refrigerate asparagus as soon as possible after purchasing, ideally within an hour.
  • Store in high humidity, such as in a perforated plastic bag.
  • Do not wash before storing. Wash right before eating.
  • Consume within 2-3 days for optimal texture and flavor.

Freezing can significantly extend the shelf life. Blanch spears in boiling water for 2-4 minutes before freezing in airtight containers.

What Happens as Asparagus Ages?

As asparagus ages, it deteriorates in texture, flavor, appearance, and nutritional content:


The spears become increasingly fibrous, woody, and stringy. Enzymes start breaking down the plant cell walls, causing toughness.


The flavor becomes unpleasantly bitter and acidic. Fermentation causes sour flavors.


Spears shrivel, wilt, and lose their vibrancy. White lines and tips turn brown. Mold growth appears.


Vitamin C and other water-soluble nutrients diminish over time. Healthful antioxidants and phytonutrients also degrade.

Freezing stops the aging process. Thawed frozen asparagus will taste freshly picked if it was properly blanched before freezing.

Can You Eat 2 Week Old Asparagus?

It is not recommended to eat asparagus that is 2 weeks old due to increased risk of spoilage, unfavorable texture changes, and potential foodborne illness.

Here are guidelines on consuming older asparagus:

  • 1 week old – Asparagus is still reasonably fresh up to 7 days past harvest. It may be slightly drier but still edible if refrigerated properly.
  • 2 weeks old – Do not eat raw. Cook thoroughly if spears still look and smell normal. Discard if any slime, odor, or wilting.
  • 3-4 weeks old – Discard. Not worth the safety risk.

Always inspect older asparagus closely before eating:

  • There should be no visible mold or black spots.
  • The tips should not be split or flowering.
  • The spears should snap cleanly, not bend limply.
  • There should be minimal odor – no sourness or off-smells.

If in doubt, throw it out. Asparagus is not worth getting sick over.

Risks of Eating Old Asparagus

Eating spoiled, old asparagus can potentially cause foodborne illness. Possible risks include:

Food Poisoning

Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli are bacteria that can contaminate produce and cause symptoms like vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Proper refrigeration helps prevent their growth.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Off-flavors or textures may upset your stomach. Older asparagus has more fiber and sugars that can cause gas, cramps, and bloating if your system cannot digest them well.

Allergic Reaction

Mold on old asparagus can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals who are allergic to mold. Reactions may include rash, sinus congestion, breathing issues, etc.


Some molds like Fusarium and Aspergillus can produce mycotoxins that may cause illness when ingested. Mycotoxins are unlikely at 2 weeks old but possible.

For vulnerable groups like the very young, elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised, the risks are higher. Healthy adults are less likely to become seriously ill from slightly spoiled asparagus but it is better to be safe.

How to Tell if Asparagus Has Gone Bad

Look for these signs that asparagus is past its prime and potentially dangerous to eat:


  • Shriveled, wrinkled, dried out
  • Wilted, limp, bendy stalks
  • Brown or black tips
  • Peeling skin
  • Moldy spears
  • Liquid oozing out


  • Rubbery, woody stalks
  • Split ends
  • Difficulty snapping stalks
  • Soft, mushy feel


  • Rotten odor
  • Vinegar-like smell
  • Unpleasant sourness
  • Very musty

What to Do with Bad Asparagus

If your asparagus has gone bad, do not try to salvage it. Follow these proper disposal methods:

  • Throw away in trash – Place unsalvageable asparagus in your regular kitchen waste bin. Double bag to contain odors.
  • Bury in soil – For gardeners, asparagus can be buried at least 12 inches deep in soil to safely decompose.
  • Compost pile – Add to an active compost pile, mixing and covering with browns like leaves or cardboard.
  • Municipal green waste – Many towns offer curbside compost bins for food scraps like spoiled produce.
  • Garbage disposal – Running water helps wash asparagus remains down the drain.

Never re-serve bad asparagus or feed it to animals, as it may make them sick as well.

How to Store Asparagus Properly

Proper storage is key to maximizing freshness and shelf life:

At the Market

  • Check ends for dryness or mushiness.
  • Select firm, straight spears with tight tips.
  • Avoid bunches with odd smells or sliminess.
  • Refrigerate within 1-2 hours of purchasing.

In the Refrigerator

  • Before refrigerating, trim woody ends and rinse.
  • Dry spears thoroughly with a paper towel or clean dish cloth.
  • Wrap spears in a damp paper towel and place inside perforated plastic bag.
  • Store in high humidity drawer away from ethylene-producing fruits.
  • Use within 3 days for optimal freshness.

In the Freezer

  • Wash, trim, and blanch spears for 2-4 minutes until bright green.
  • Immediately cool in ice bath to stop cooking process.
  • Drain and pat completely dry with towel.
  • Spread in single layer on tray and freeze for 1-2 hours.
  • Transfer frozen spears to zip-top freezer bag.
  • Remove air, seal, and return to freezer.
  • Use within about 12 months.

How to Revive Old Asparagus

It may be possible to revive asparagus past its prime using these methods:

Trim – Cut off any dry, woody, or mushy bottoms. Trim 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the ends.

Soak – Soak trimmed spears for 10-15 minutes in cold water to rehydrate. Drain afterwards.

Cook – Cook thoroughly by sauteing, boiling, roasting or grilling. Cooked well-done to 165°F minimum.

Dress up – Mask any off-flavors with lemon, oils, butter, salt, and lots of black pepper.

Puree – Use older asparagus in pureed soups. Blending helps hide unfavorable textures.

However, revival methods cannot restore peak freshness. Older asparagus will still lack snap and flavor. It’s generally better to discard old spears rather than try to salvage them.


Asparagus has a short shelf life and will go bad within 1-2 weeks after harvest. Eating asparagus that is 2 weeks old is not advised due to increased risk of foodborne illness, as well as unappealing textures and tastes.

Look for shriveled, wilted spears with brown bottoms or tips. Off-odors, sliminess, and mold are also signs asparagus has spoiled. Discard any questionable asparagus rather than trying to salvage it.

For the best quality and food safety, eat asparagus within 3-5 days of purchasing. Proper refrigeration and freezing methods help maintain freshness and extend the shelf life.

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