As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it’s time to shift our focus to spring produce. One vegetable that always takes center stage during this season is asparagus. This versatile ingredient can be used in a variety of dishes from salads to pastas, and it’s packed with nutritional benefits. In this post, we’ll dive into how to prep asparagus for spring so you can enjoy its delicious flavor all season long.
The Benefits of Asparagus
Before we get into how to prep asparagus, let’s first discuss why you should be incorporating it into your spring meals. Asparagus is low in calories and high in nutrients, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet. It’s a great source of fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Additionally, asparagus contains antioxidants that can help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Choosing the Right Asparagus
When selecting asparagus, look for firm, bright green stalks with tightly closed tips. The thicker the stalk, the better the flavor. Avoid asparagus with wilted or shriveled stalks or tips that have started to flower.
Washing and Trimming Asparagus
Before prepping asparagus for cooking, it’s important to give it a thorough wash. Rinse the stalks under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, trim the ends of the stalks. This is where the woody part of the asparagus begins, and it can be tough and hard to chew. You can either snap off the ends by bending the stalk until it breaks naturally, or you can cut them off with a knife.
There are several methods for cooking asparagus, each with its own benefits. Here are a few options to consider:
– Roasting: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spread the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and then roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the stalks are tender and slightly browned.
– Grilling: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly charred and tender.
– Steaming: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a steamer basket and the asparagus stalks. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes, or until the stalks are tender.
Asparagus is best eaten as soon as possible after it’s harvested, as it can quickly lose its flavor and texture. To store asparagus, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and then place them in a plastic bag. Store the bag in the fridge for up to four days.
FAQs About Prepping Asparagus for Spring
Q: Can you eat asparagus raw?
A: Yes, asparagus can be eaten raw. It has a slightly bitter and crunchy texture that pairs well with salads.
Q: Do you need to peel asparagus before cooking it?
A: No, there’s no need to peel asparagus before cooking it. Simply wash and trim the stalks before cooking.
Q: What are some recipes that use asparagus?
A: Some delicious options include roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese, grilled asparagus with lemon and garlic, and asparagus risotto.
Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that’s perfect for the spring season. By choosing the right asparagus, properly washing and trimming it, and cooking it to perfection, you can enjoy this tasty ingredient in a variety of dishes. So, head to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some asparagus to add to your meals this spring.