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How to tell if asparagus is bad

Asparagus is a springtime favorite vegetable and can be hard to come by in the off months. Because it is so seasonal it can be on the pricier end for produce so you do not want it to go to waste.

You want to use it up within 5-7 days so that it doesn’t spoil and go to waste. Here are a few tips on how to tell if asparagus is bad.

The texture will change, it will have a foul smell to it, and will change in color. Let’s get into how to tell if asparagus is bad a little more in-depth.

How to tell if asparagus is bad? The tips of the asparagus will go bad first and become mushy, black, and have a rancid smell to them. Another sign of bad asparagus is the stalks have become wrinkled and limp.

5 Ways to tell if asparagus has gone bad

You will usually know right away when you take your asparagus out if it is still fresh or not. All of the tell-tale signs of rotten food don’t hide when it comes to asparagus. You want to consider all this before you cut asparagus.

Asparagus starts to go bad at the tips first, which unfortunately is the best part. The stalks will also have a sign when it is spoiling.

You just have to look it over and give it the good old sniff test and you will know if it is still good or not. Let’s get into what to look for.

1. Dark green or Black Tips

asparagus tips

The tips or heads of the asparagus will start to turn a dark green or black color when they are spoiled. If you touch the tips between your fingers you will notice that they are mushy and kind of fall apart.

2. Limp Stalks

When asparagus is going bad the stalks will start to look shriveled up and be very limp like a spaghetti noodle. However, you can still cook and eat them at this point but I recommend doing so in a soup or stew.

3. Moldy

No matter if you store asparagus correctly or not it will eventually go bad and start to grow mold. If any sign of mold growing anywhere on the stalks or tips I would toss them out to be safe.

4. Slimy

Slimy asparagus is about as appetizing as it sounds. Most likely it was sealed too tight in a plastic bag or bound too tight together that too much moisture got in and the asparagus sat wet too long.

5. Bad odor

Asparagus doesn’t have much of a smell when it is fresh and uncooked. If your asparagus has gone bad it will have a strong foul smell to it and most likely also have one or two if not all of the other attributes of rotted asparagus that we went over above.

Check out how to tell if cauliflower is bad or how to tell if butter squash is bad.


Knowing how to properly store asparagus will allow it to last you anywhere from 5-7 days in the refrigerator and then you will want to use it up or freeze it in order for it not to go to waste.

I have a couple of posts that you should check out on how to store asparagus and how to properly freeze asparagus that might help you in getting the most out of your vegetable before it spoils.

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