I am so excited. This week begins the CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture-a food production and distribution system that connects farmers and consumers directly, purchasing "shares") season for us here in the Lyme-Old Lyme area. This blog is about asparagus: nutritional importance, how to store, how to prepare. There will also be a recipe or two, just click on the recipe button below.
Asparagus contains the highest amount of folate (crucial for making new cells) and numerous vitamins and minerals. To keep it in layman's terms and not to bore you, I will skip to telling you why you should eat asparagus and not list all the vitamins, etc. Asparagus is a healthy choice in most diets. There are different varieties but green asparagus contains the most nutrients. Asparagus is low in calories, is a complex carb (what we want and need), is detoxing to the liver (the liver can ALWAYS use the help), and is a natural diuretic (it's worth the pungent odor most of us experience).
Storing asparagus correctly will not only keep it fresh, but you will prevent the ends from drying out, and therefor, have less to trim and more to eat. The best way to store asparagus is to trim about an inch off the ends, stand in about an inch of water in a glass jar, and loosely cover with a plastic bag. Your asparagus should keep in the fridge for up to a week or so, but don't forget to change the water if it becomes cloudy.
Preparing asparagus is very simple. As with all produce, wash thoroughly. I soak my produce in a solution of white vinegar and water, or use a store-bought produce wash. Remember to rinse well. There are two common methods to trim asparagus. The most common is by grabbing the spear by both ends and bend until the spear snaps. This will give you the most tender part of the spear, but will also waste a tasty portion of it as well. The second method requires a bit more work, trimming a 1/2 inch off the base and peeling from just below the tip to the base. The method you choose is a personal preference as to whether or not you enjoy your asparagus more fibrous or more tender.
Asparagus can be eaten raw, chopped and added to salads or left long for a veggie platter, grilled with olive oil, steamed, sautéed, roasted, broiled. How long to cook? It depends on how you like your asparagus, crunch, no crunch. Please click on the button below for recipes.
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