These flavorful spears are a favorite spring vegetable because they are delicious and simple to prepare. They also pack a nutritional punch. Here are some asparagus basics.
Choose asparagus with stalks that are firm and crisp. When the tips begin to get fuzzy, wilted or dried out, it’s a sign that the vegetable is past its prime, but still edible. If it has become slimy anywhere on the stalk, that’s a sign that it is no longer fresh.
Fresh asparagus will last about 3 to 4 days. Do not wash it before storing. Wash only before using it. Wrap the stalks in a damp cloth and place in a plastic bag that is not airtight. You can also trim off the very ends, wrap in a wet paper towel and stand the spears up in a glass. Store in the refrigerator.
Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable with just 20 calories per serving. It contains moderate levels of fiber and helps decrease bad cholesterol levels. Asparagus is also a good source of antioxidants which help protect our body from cancer and other diseases and infections.
Rinse asparagus before use. Trim off the bottom ends of the stalks where the green color fades. Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, sauteed or grilled. We also like to roast it. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan about half way through. Great with fish, delicious in pasta or on top of a salad.