Asparagus is originally from the eastern Mediterranean region. Asparagus is divided into three groups. The green asparagus is the most common. The white asparagus is more tender but has less taste. The purple asparagus has a very fruity flavor.
Choose: firm, stiff asparagus with compact heads and a vivid color, with no rust-colored parts, that are similar in size (for even cooking).
Avoid: yellowed asparagus with limp stems and flowering heads.
Asparagus is very fragile.
In the fridge: 3 days, wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag.
In the freezer: 9 months, blanched and placed in a plastic bag.
Before cooking asparagus, remove the bottom part of the stem (this part can be puréed or used for soups, for example). Wash well, in cold water to remove any sand or soil.
Avoid lengthy cooking of asparagus, as it can become mushy and lose flavor, color and nutritional value.
Boiled: cook asparagus tied together in a bundle. (See photo insert)
Steamed: a recommended cooking method. Preferably us an asparagus pot (a tall pot in which asparagus can in placed upright) to protect the more fragile tips.
Asparagus are cooked when they are tender but still firm. To stop the cooking process, immediately plunge into cold water, but do not let the asparagus soak.
Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots, as the high level of tannin in asparagus reacts to the iron and alters its color.
SERVING IDEAS FOR ASPARAGUS
Asparagus can be served warm or hot (with butter or hollandaise sauce) or cold (with a vinaigrette or mustard sauce). It can be puréed and turned into soup, cream or soufflé.
Cut into pieces or whole, it is used to garnish omelettes, quiches, salads or pasta dishes and can be stir-fried.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that asparagus is 92% water? Asparagus is an excellent source of folic acid.
Asparagus is said to be a laxative, mineralizing and tonic.