Preparing your asparagus before cooking
Before washing, hold the tip of the asparagus stalk in one hand and the root end in the other. Slowly bend the stalk until it snaps near to the white end. Discard the root ends as they are very fibrous and don’t make for very good eating. Save the green ends for cooking. Fresh asparagus should always be thoroughly washed. Having been grown in sand or very sandy soil, asparagus can trap tiny bits of sand in the tips as they push through the dirt.
Asparagus is incredibly versatile and recipes can be found to transform this humble vegetable into soups, stir-fries, entrées or side dishes, and can be prepared by roasting, blanching, pickling, frying or steaming.
Whatever your method of preparation do not overcook asparagus as it will turn grayish and become limp and fibrous with too much heat. You want the asparagus to retain its bright color and to have a fresh tender crisp bite to it when finished.
Used for thousands of years as both a vegetable and for its medicinal properties, a recipe for asparagus even appears in the oldest known cookbook, the Apicius. But no matter how you prepare it today, asparagus remains an easy to prepare vegetable that is a nutritional powerhouse.
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