Asparagus what a wonderful vegetable. I love springtime when it becomes available and somewhat affordable.
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There is alot of nutrition and health benefits packed into this vegetable. It is high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6, and C. There are many health benefits associated with asparagus. It is known to be benificial for heart health. It has been known to help stabilize blood sugar, and aid in relieveing depression, inflammation, and joint discomfort. It has been used in the treatment of the aids virus, M.S., and cancer.
How to pick asparagus.
Pick asparagus with straight stalks with uniform green color and a compact pointed tip. Pick asparagus that is small in diameter. You really want it no thicker around than a crayon. Smaller stalks seem to be more tender. Allow 1/3-1/2 pound of asparagus per person as a generous serving.
How to prepare asparagus
Snap off the root end of the stalks. Peel off the scales and stringy skin from the lower part of the stalks. For very small stalks this step may be skipped. Wash well, and then cook in boiling salted water. You can blanch them in a large deep skillet for 3-5 minutes until just tender. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Asparagus becomes mushy and slimy very quick. remove the asparagus right away from the hot water and cool in cold running water, or in an ice bath. Drain on paper towels until ready to use.
You can also steam the asparagus. Some swear by this method. claiming that the tougher ends cook in the water, and the tender tips cook in the steam. To do this; place the spears upright in a very deep pot. (You can tie the spears together in bunches of 8-10 spears to aid in keeping them upright). Add boiling water to 1 inch deep. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the steam bath an cool the asparagus in cold running water to stop the cooking.
Once cooked, the asparagus can be kept in the fridge for several days. It can be eaten cold or warmed again. It can be made into salads, or soups. It is great grilled, roasted or deep fried. This vegetable is beautiful and makes for a nice presentation. Because of it's strong and distinct flavor simple preparations seem to be the best. Lemon, butter, and garlic seem to lend themselves well to the flavor of asparagus. One of my favorite preparations is a simple cream of asparagus soup. However you prepare it make sure you enjoy the health benefits of this wonderful veg.
who knew? There is a whole website dedicated to asparagus recipes and tips
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