Cooking In Season // Asparagus

Asparagus small

Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to surface as winter dies down and spring begins to bloom.  When I was a little girl, wild asparagus grew along the railroad tracks near my house.  Every spring we would go on an asparagus hunt to see how much we could find.  It was like a contest between the neighborhood kids to see who could gather the most!

May is National Asparagus Month, so it is a great time to use asparagus in your meals or give it a try for the first time.  Click here to check out Top 10 Ways to Use Asparagus .  You’re sure to find something both you and your family will love.  The great thing about asparagus is that it pairs nicely with just about anything.

Most of us are familiar with the green variety of asparagus, but did you know that it can also be white or purple?  White asparagus takes a bit more time to prepare because it has a woody outer stem that needs to be peeled off before cooking or eating.  Purple asparagus is only purple on the outside and maintains the traditional green asparagus color on the inside.   It is less fibrous than green asparagus, and many people think it is they best type to eat raw.

When shopping for asparagus, look for spears that are brightly colored and firm with tightly closed tips.  You can tell how long asparagus has been sitting at the store by looking at the bottom part of the stems where the asparagus was cut when harvested.  If the stems are very dry, that is a sign that it has been sitting in the store for awhile.  A strong smell coming from the asparagus is another sign that it is not very fresh.  Although some grocery stores may carry it  year round, it is likely to be priced the best during the months of April, May, and June.

One of my favorite asparagus recipes is Asparagus with Tomato Vinaigrette.  It’s makes for the perfect spring and summer side dish.  Enjoy!

(Click on the recipe card for a printable version.)

Asparagus with Tomato Vinaigrette

Candi Merritt

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

 

Sources:

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

whfoods.com

 

 

 

 

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