Asparagus

Asparagus is an green vegetable that is often considered one of delicacies of the vegetable world.  It is best when first harvested in the spring, but because it is grown all over the world, it is available year round.

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How to cook asparagus

The bottom (wider) end of the asparagus is often much more fibrous than the more tender tip.  There are several ways to deal with this in getting asparagus ready to cook.

  1. Bend the asparagus until it breaks.
  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outside, “woody” part.

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Here’s a great NYTimes article with videos on how to prepare and cook asparagus

Once you have prepared the asparagus, you have a lot of options for how to cook them.  The most common way to cook them is to steam or boil them until they are just a little tender but still bright green.  Especially if you are putting them in other things (like a stew or a salad) it’s best to blanch them after you cook them. Blanching means putting them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Steaming/Simmering.  You can use a steamer insert in a pan, or put a little water in the bottom of the pan and simmer them for the same effect.  This will only take 3 minutes or so – don’t overcook them!

Roasting.  Roasting is another alternative for cooking asparagus.  Put the asparagus in the oven on a cookie tray or a baking dish at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Remember it will keep cooking when you take it out, so don’t overcook them in the oven.

Sautéed/Stir Fry.  Asparagus is delicious cut into pieces and cooked in a little oil over high heat on the stove.

Simple ways to eat asparagus

Cold asparagus is ok, but asparagus is usually better  warm or at room temperature.  Try a little squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can also add a little butter or olive oil.

Asparagus is delicious with eggs.  You can put a fried egg over cooked asparagus, or chop up the asparagus to put in scrambled eggs or an omelette. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on the top to make it even better.

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Easy recipes

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Asparagus Stir-Fry (add shrimp or chicken if you want)

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Greek style asparagus salad

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Ham and asparagus macaroni

Here are more asparagus recipes from allrecipes.com, NYT Cooking, Food Network, and huffingtonpost.com.

Trivia about asparagus

  • Your urine will probably smell funny after you eat asparagus. This is because asparagusic acid in the asparagus is converted to methanethiol, which is what causes the odor.  Although everyone has smelly urine after eating asparagus, not everyone can smell the odor due to genetic differences.
  • The plural of asparagus is asparagus
  • There were asparagus in Egyptian friezes from 3000BC
  • Asparagus are high in folic acid, B vitamins and vitamin C,E,A and K.
  • One cup of asparagus has 32 calories.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of asparagus (7,000,000 tons per year)
  • White asparagus is the same as green asparagus, it’s just kept away from sun so there is no chlorophyll produced that would turn it green.
  • Purple asparagus has a slightly higher sugar content and is a little more tender.

Information from foodreference.com, allasparagus.com, and wikipedia

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