Asparagus – an impressive vegetable

You don’t need to do very much to asparagus to make it any more delicious than it already is. Simply lightly grilling it on the BBQ or baking it, then drizzle over a really really good extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar and sprinkle a little sea salt, brings out the unique earthy flavour that says “SPRING TIME!” to me.IMG_4946

Emerging research that asparagus contains antioxidants that help protect the body against future disease, makes asparagus an impressive vegetable!

Apart from taste great, asparagus is packed with nutrition, including a range of B group vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Asparagus is an excellent source of dietary fibre, it is low in calories, has no fat and is low in sodium.

The one thing you may or may not know about asparagus is that ‘asparagusic acid‘ (only found in asparagus) causes an unpleasant scent in your urine after you eat it – but that’s not a big deal!

Although asparagus is often sold throughout year, I will only buy it from local suppliers in Spring, when nature intended it to be in season. I feel the same way about all the fruit and vegetables I buy.  When I shop for asparagus, I look for firm, bright green spears of similar size with tight, compact tips. Asparagus that has been freshly harvested, should be crisp and moist.

When storing asparagus, it needs to be kept in cool, humid conditions. To keep it fresher for longer, I  wrap it in a damp tea towel or kitchen paper, place it in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper drawer of my fridge.

To prepare asparagus, simply snap off the woody end from each spear using your forefinger and thumb. Snap the asparagus as close to the woody end as possible to minimise wastage.

Asparagus is extremely versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner in omelettes, salads, soups, tarts, frittata, risotto, pasta and much more!

Over next few days and weeks I will share some recipes using asparagus that will you won’t be able to resist trying out, so look out for them and let me know which ones you like.