2018-05-16 / News

asparagus Choosing and preserving

How to choose, prepare or preserve this versatile, delicious vegetable
BY JOYCE MCGARRY
MSU Extension


When choosing fresh asparagus, look for spears that are brightly colored and have compact tightly closed tips. When choosing fresh asparagus, look for spears that are brightly colored and have compact tightly closed tips. LAPEER TWP. — Fresh asparagus is a well-loved, nutrientdense vegetable. A nutrient dense food means it if full of important vitamins and minerals. Asparagus is high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, Vitamin A and C and thiamin. In addition, it contains no fat, cholesterol and very little sodium.

The asparagus season lasts only about six to seven weeks during the early spring and summer. Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, meaning it can be steamed, simmered, roasted, battered, grilled, sautéed or wok-fried. It can also be sliced thin and eaten raw in salads.

When choosing fresh asparagus, look for spears that are brightly colored and have compact tightly closed tips.

There are three colors of asparagus, green being the most common. The white variety is most common in Europe. It is white because of being covered with mulch to prevent the development of chlorophyll. White asparagus must be completely peeled and well cooked. The purple variety has a beautiful violet skin that turns dark green when cooked.

Michigan State University Extension does not recommend washing fresh asparagus until ready to prepare. Fresh asparagus can be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel and plastic bag or stored upright in a container with an inch of water.

To freeze fresh asparagus select young tender stalks. Thoroughly wash the asparagus and cut into even lengths. Water blanch; is exposing any vegetable to boiling water or steam for a brief period of time to stop ripening. Immerse cut asparagus into boiling water; small spears two minutes, medium spears three minutes and large spears four minutes. Immediately cool in ice water to prevent cooking. Drain, package and freeze. For further storage and preservation information, go to Michigan State University Extension MI Fresh.

Enjoy this versatile and delicious vegetable many ways during its short but sweet season!

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-05-16 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.