Asparagus is a spring perennial with a distinct flavor. Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten. Once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody.
A member of the lily family, asparagus is grown from a crown planted about a foot deep in soil. Asparagus spears cannot be harvested until the plant is at least three years old. These hearty plants will produce spears for up to 15 years. A fully mature asparagus plant can grow spears up to 10 inches in length in just 24 hours.!
This green vegetable, which can be cultivated to grow purple or white stems, is perfect for any meal. We love serving it for breakfast topped with an over easy egg!
Storage and Preperation
Snap off the bottom inch or so using your fingers; the stems will naturally break where the tough woody part ends and the tender stem begins. Gently bend the stems a few times to find a place where it breaks easily. You can also line up the stems and trim off an inch or so. If desired, scrape off the scales with a vegetable peeler. Rinse the spears under cool water to remove any grit. Pat dry and wrap the bottoms of the spears in a damp paper towel. Place is a plastic bag and store in the vegetable crisper for 2-4 days.
Asparagus is low in calories and sodium and high in fiber. This nutrient dense vegetable contains vitamin C, vitamin B6 and thiamin. It is especially high in folic acid. One cup of cooked asparagus contains 264 micrograms of folate or 66% of the daily recommended intake. Folic acid is Folate is an essential nutrient, and is necessary for fetal development, blood cell formation and normal cellular function.