Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Asparagus from
the Barren County Farmers' Market




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

 

The word asparagus is derived from the Greek word Asparagos which means “sprout” or “shoot”. It is one of the earliest spring vegetables. It is a hardy perennial and a member of the lily family and a close relative to onions, garlic, and leeks.

 

Selecting a quality product

Green asparagus is the usual type of asparagus found at the store although purple and white asparagus can sometimes be found.

Purple asparagus is actually a variety that has 20% more sugar and has a nutty flavor and is more tender than green asparagus.

White asparagus is blanched as soil is piled over the spears as they emerge to exclude light.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

 

Pick spears that are firm but tender and have a bright color. The tips should be tightly closed and compact. Tips that have begun to open slightly or are wilted indicate old age. You will be trimming asparagus when you prepare it, plan on purchasing enough to allow 1/2 pound per person.

Tips on Storage

Refrigerate immediately. Wrap in a damp cloth or paper towel and store in the vegetable crisper section of your refrigerator.

Tips on cooking

Snap off the bottom-most woody portion of the spear. You can find where the tender part ends by gently bending the stalk till it snaps naturally. Save these trimmings for use in stocks. Asparagus may be steamed upright in a tall, covered pot or simmered in a skillet in lightly salted water for 3-5 minutes.

Ways to use:

Cream of asparagus soup
Baked in foil with herbs and olive oil until tender
Steamed with Hollandaise Sauce
Serve with a light vinaigrette or other light dressing

 

Recipes:

Asparagus With Hollandaise Sauce

1 Lb. asparagus
1 C. butter
4 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 Tsp. salt
1/4 Tsp. Tabasco sauce
Cut off tough ends from asparagus. Wash in a large bowl of cold water to remove any sand. In a large pot, bring about 4-quarts of water and salt (optional) to a boil*. Lay asparagus flat in water. When water boils again, reduce heat and boil slowly about 6-8 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain.

Hollandaise Sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat butter until very hot, but do not brown. Into a blender, put egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco sauce. Cover container and turn on slow speed. Immediately remove cover and pour in the hot butter in a steady stream. When all butter is added, turn off blender. Pour over asparagus and serve immediately. If sauce becomes too thick to pour when ready to serve, add 1 tablespoon hot water and blend briefly.

*Asparagus can also be prepared in the microwave.




Herbed Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese

2 lb asparagus, thin & trimmed
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon chives
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus. Simmer until just tender, 2 min. Drain and pat dry. Combine butter, chopped herbs, and pepper in a small bowl, and blend. Just before serving, melt the herb butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the asparagus and toss gently to heat through. Transfer the asparagus to a warmed serving platter, and shave Parmesan cheese over it. Serve immediately.

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