Asparagus is one of our favorite veggies and the best thing about it is that it cooks very easily. There are various asparagus recipes and several ways of cooking it from roasting and steaming to tossing it on a grill. Before learning how to cook asparagus, you should check out the basics: remove the extra sand as well as the woody stems. This veggie is perfect for a home dinner with your family or friends.
Brief history of asparagus
The asparagus appeared first in the English language around 1000 AD. The veggie doesn’t have an exact origin but many say that it’s native to Asia Minor and eastern Mediterranean. Asparagus was cooked from ancient times and Cato had excellent asparagus recipes for growing the vegetable. From Egyptians to Romans and from Pliny to Julius Caesar, every single period of time had asparagus on the table.
The Romans had a saying: “as quick as cooking asparagus”, referring to something done quickly. There are people in the entire history that mention the vegetable and it’s also mentioned in some French cookbooks detailing how to cook asparagus. It was famous even during the Italian Renaissance period. The asparagus’ spears always showed elegance and were a delicacy that only the rich could afford.
Asparagus varieties and seasons
If you’re new in the food eating industry and don’t know much about asparagus, here are a few things that will come in handy. The veggie comes in different grades: small, standard, large, jumbo and colossal. Also, the varieties change in recipes but the only thing that changes really is the color of the dish. There are a few distinct asparagus colors: green – is usually very thick; white – it is found generally in Europe and they are more delicate than others; purple or violet – it is found generally in Italy and England and has thick stalk; wild: the wild asparagus grows generally in different parts of Europe, it is rare and you have to hunt it down if you don’t like it in cans.
The veggie is available all year but spring is the best time for fresh asparagus. It is harvested from February to June and April is the prime month. If the veggie is allowed to develop, stalks come out of the crown like blooming flowers. The interesting part is that there are male and female plants. The females produce the seeds but generally male plants are cultivated because of the lower costs.
Basic preparation and storage
You can cut off the stalks or you can bend the spears until they break naturally. If you use the breaking method, the chances that you end up with a tasteful veggie are much higher. One of the ways of cooking the asparagus is by steam. It’s very easy and very quick. If you really like the veggie you can buy a special made steamer for it. Of course, if you don’t want to give away money, a steamer basket will do just fine.
After you remove the stems and wash the spears, you can place them in the basket, add some water for the steam and put the steamer inside. In about 2 or 3 minutes your spears are ready to be eaten. Another way of cooking your asparagus is by roasting it. You can put it in the oven for around 15 minutes depending on the oven and on how roast you want it to be. The veggie deteriorates pretty quickly so it’s best to use it no longer than 2 or 3 days. If you really can’t use it when you buy it, you should keep it in a bowl with cold water.
Eating asparagus and health benefits
Some might ask what the benefits of eating asparagus are. Well, the veggie is high in vitamins C and B6, fiber, anti-carcinogen and glutathione and antioxidant. In other words, it is an extraordinary nutritional choice. The fresh asparagus that can be found from February to May but the best month is April. You can learn how to cook asparagus from the many available online asparagus recipes. You can find it all year round but it comes in canes. And, to be honest, nothing compares to the asparagus’ fresh delicate flavor. The asparagus can be eaten all year round as well as all day round. It’s a perfect choice for breakfast, lunch dinner and even appetizers. It can be included in many recipes for different dishes because of its fresh taste and quality.