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How to buy and store fresh asparagus
Asparagus, a member of the Lily family, which includes leeks, garlic and onions. Asparagus is best found in spring and is harvested when it is about 6 to 8 inches tall. Asparagus is available as green, purple and white. Asparagus is expensive compared to other vegetables simply because it is harvested by hand. It is native of central and southern Europe, North Africa and western Asia.
Types of asparagus:
1. White asparagus: White asparagus is grown in Alsace, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
2. Purple asparagus: Purple asparagus grows in the Veneto region of northern Italy and France.
3. Green asparagus: Green asparagus is grown in California, Britain and France's Rhône Valley. Green asparagus is the most flavorful of all the three.
1. Asparagus is rich in protein and low in calories and carbohydrates.
2. It is low in sodium, and high in potassium. It has no fat or cholesterol.
3. It is an excellent source of folic acid and rich in thiamin, vitain A and vitamin C.
4. Also one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
5. One-half cup of cooked asparagus contains a mere 24 calories and contains lots of fiber.
How to buy asparagus?
1.In season: You can buy fresh asparagus from march through june.
Off season: You can buy asparagus canned or frozen. One pound of fresh asparagus serves upto 4 people.
2. Choose bright green tender asparagus with medium sized stalks.
3. Try to buy green asparagus with closed compact firm tips.
4. Buy stalks that are equally thick so you can cook evenly.
5. Avoid tips that are open, moldy, decayed tips, spread out and ribbed spears. These are all signs of aging.
6. White asparagus has a milder flavor and tender than green asparagus.
7. Don't forget to place the asparagus in the back of the refrigerator, since folate is destroyed by exposure to air, heat or light.
How to store asparagus?
1. Asparagus may be stored for longer periods of time simply by placing bundled stalks in about 1 inch of water in a jar and keep them in the refrigerator.
2. Or to keep asparagus fresh cover with paper towels around the stems. Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality.