A tasty spring vegetable, the asparagus is known to be one of the oldest variety of vegetables, believed that its first cultivation started in the Mediterranean regions used as a vegetable and medicinal plant by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
This herbaceous perennial plant belongs to the Asparagaceae family. Also known as Asparagus Officinalis is widely grown in China, Europe, Australia and USA.
In the supermarkets, these spear head vegetables can be found in green, white and violet colored asparagus. The violet asparagus are have a tendency of being more fruity and slightly bitter whereas the green asparagus has a strong flavor and almost sweet.
Although this vegetable may be found all year round, the asparagus are best available in spring time where it’s flavor is the highest from April to June.
Selection and Storage
Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten: once the buds start to open ("ferning out"), the shoots quickly turn woody.
In the market, always look for fresh asparagus with firm straight stem that would snap between two fingers and have tightly closed lips. If they are dull in color then it means that they are not fresh,
In the refrigerator, the stems can be preserved for approximately 2 to 3 days, well tied together in a bunch and wrapped around with a humid cloth, with their heads facing up. It’s best to avoid preserving cooked asparagus in the refrigerator.
Asparagus recipe ideas
Asparagus can be eaten with any kind of sauce hot or cold. Simply have it as a starter with a little vinaigrette or with walnut, hazelnut or olive oil dressing. It can be simply added to other vegetables to create a vegetable salad dish.
Asparagus goes well with egg, salad, any white meat and also soft cheese.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus are full of nutrients, among other fiber, folic acid, vitamins A, C, E and K. Asparagus also provides a wide range of minerals. Besides the abundance of potassium, other elements like iron, calcium and magnesium are also present.
It helps maintain a balanced diet. Asparagus are light and can be easily digested, obviously as long as you don’t abuse the accompanying sauce. In general, 100g of asparagus contains about 25 Kcal