Spring is here. Soon we will be out gathering those first shoots of spring. Rhubarb, arugula, herbs and asparagus, to name just a few.
Let’s take a closer look at asparagus. It is very easy to prepare and cooks quickly, a nice contrast to the tough skinned, long cooking winter roots.
Asparagus is best prepared as soon as possible after harvest. Select spears that are moist on the ends and the tops are still firmly closed. These qualities indicate recent harvest.
For optimal storage refrigerate in an open plastic bag. If spears are limp, rehydrate by trimming the end and placing in cold water in the refrigerator; give it about 45 minutes.
Asparagus comes in different varieties. Green is the most common and the size of the spears vary. Purple is a bit sweet raw but when cooked it is the same color and taste as green. White has a mild flavor and is best peeled as the skin is tough and can be bitter.
To remove the tough ends hold the asparagus about halfway down and bend the stalk until it snaps. Use the tough ends to make a stock so don’t discard. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer, strain and use the liquid to make asparagus soup in place of vegetable stock.