Fruit and Vegetable Guide
Description: A perennial, asparagus are spear-like shoots that come in three main varieties: green, the most common; white, for which the green variety is field blanched; and purple, an extra sweet and tender variety that turns green when cooked.
Selection: Look for spears with tight buds and smooth skin. Asparagus should not be withered, brown or limp. Smaller spears are especially tender.
Storage and handling: Store asparagus upright with water at its base for 2-3 days in the coolest part of the refrigerator. Rinse well before using, especially around the scales.
Preparation: Snap the stems where they naturally break to remove the woody bottom portion. Cut into pieces or use whole spears. Steam (or cook in a little water) about 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Microwave about 5 minutes in a covered dish with a little liquid. Roast with garlic (SIS, p. 51).
Serving suggestions: Serve raw asparagus in salads (SIS, p. 46) or on a vegetable tray. Season cooked or roasted asparagus with balsamic vinegar or lemon butter. Use peeled stems to flavor soups.
Nutrients: Vitamins A, C, K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate; iron; fiber.
1 lb raw = 3 cups
© 2011 Mennonite Central Committee