Welcome to another Seasonal Recipe Round-Up! This time we're featuring asparagus (and next time is strawberries — see schedule below). I'm sharing my tips and a recipe, and you can participate by sharing your own tips and/or recipes in the comments.
What is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a flowering spring perennial in the Lily family. The tender shoots are succulent and tasty and often prized as a delicacy. The most common cultivated varieties are green, but you might also find white asparagus in canned goods, and smaller, fruitier-tasting purple asparagus. Wild varieties are often used medicinally. Asparagus contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and iron; more info is here.
How to Choose and Store Asparagus
Young and tender is the name of the game, with stalks that are six to eight inches long, rounded, firm, and thin. The base of the stalk may be woody, but you don't want any more of it to be.
Asparagus has a high respiration rate. This means that once picked, it quickly takes in oxygen, breaks down starches and sugars, and releases carbon dioxide. The end result? Woody, tasteless, yucky asparagus. So — eat it fresh. Ideally within 24 to 48 hours of picking. During any storage time, keep chilled with base of stems wrapped in a damp towel.
The photo above (courtesy of Carly & Art on Flickr) offers advice on cutting asparagus: cut it at or below the soil line and you'll be able to work a mature asparagus bed for six to eight weeks.
How to Use Asparagus
Asparagus is so tasty and versatile… and delicious! No wonder it is considered a delicacy. Serve it warm or cold, steamed, sauteed or pickled, as a side dish, in omelets, tossed with pasta, or added to salads. My book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods, includes a pickled asparagus recipe.
Larger stalks may need trimming at the end. However, if you're going to eat asparagus (and please do!), don't bother if the stalks are large as they're probably tough and tasteless. No one likes eating strings. Tender, thin, and young is the only way to go.
An Asparagus Recipe
In this recipe round-up, I'm sharing a simple side dish called Lemon Cream Asparagus. You steam tender asparagus then drizzle delicious peppery lemon cream over it.
Now, it is your turn to share!
How to Participate in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up
Bloggers and non-bloggers, feel free to add a comment here with your favorite recipes or posts.
Please use real, whole ingredients in recipes, and preferably traditional methods of preparation. Whole ingredients means whole grains, vegetables, legumes, meats, and unrefined sweeteners. In order to keep the integrity of “nourishing” food, I will delete any recipes that use processed, boxed foods. Where possible, incorporate traditional methods of preparation, like soaking, sprouting and fermenting. The idea here is that your recipes and tips should help our readers find traditional methods for preparing seasonal vegetables.
Share Your Asparagus Recipes and Tips!
Seasonal Recipe Round-Up Schedule: April through June
Remember, the round-ups don't close — you can add your recipes at any time. And I hope you will!
- Friday, April 27, 2012 — Chard
- Friday, May 11, 2012 — Spinach
- Friday, May 25, 2012 — Rhubarb
- Friday, June 8, 2012 — Asparagus
- Friday, June 22, 2012 — Strawberries
All seasonal recipe round-ups are (and will be) listed on the Recipes page.
Come back on Friday, June 22 for our strawberry link-up in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up.
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