Cooking, Storing and Eating Asparagus
Updated: Jun 14
Asparagus is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that has been enjoyed for centuries. With its slender, tender stems and unique flavor, asparagus is a popular ingredient in many dishes around the world.
Asparagus is a vegetable best known for its earthy taste and tender texture, but did you know it's also very nutritious? It has many nutrients that are retained when cooked. It's a great source of antioxidants, and its fibrous nature can improve digestive health. So here are some ways to incorporate it into your diet:
Use it as a side dish, with fish, chicken or shrimp
Blend it and make a soup or sauce
Use it as a filling in frittata
Shave it and use it as a pizza topping
Cooking With Asparagus
There are several ways to cook asparagus, and it can all depend on what you're feeling! Check out this tasty recipe for Tangy Herb Potato Salad with Asparagus from Taste of NS.
Roasting is the way to go when you're feeling lazy; it requires no prep, and it always ends up perfectly tender and charred.
If you're in a hurry, sauté it. Just season it, put it on a hot skillet, and in 5 to 7 minutes, it'll be ready.
If you're trying to retain as many nutrients as possible, blanch it. It only takes 3 minutes and doesn't require any additional ingredients.
if it's nice out, grill it. This makes an amazing snack in the summer. You can even eat asparagus raw, shave it into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, and toss it into your dishes.
But before you can begin to cook your asparagus, it needs one important prep step: removing the tough and woody ends. The easiest and quickest way is to snap off the ends. If you're working with thick stalks, you can peel them with a vegetable peeler to make them easier to snap. It miraculously breaks where the tough part of the stem meets the tender part of the stem. Don’t worry; you won’t snap off too much. If you’d rather achieve a more even look, snap one stalk, line up the rest, and slice them at the same point with your knife.
First and foremost, before storing asparagus, ensure you wash it thoroughly and trim the ends using the tips mentioned before. Trimming them allows them to better absorb water.
There are four methods that you can use to store asparagus to maintain its freshness: the water storage method, the damp cloth or paper towel method, an airtight container, and freezing it.
Water Storage Method: Place the trimmed asparagus upright in a glass or jar with about an inch of water at the bottom. Cover the tops loosely with a plastic bag or damp paper towel. Store in the refrigerator and change the water every couple of days to keep it fresh. This method can help extend the shelf life for several days.
Damp Cloth or Paper Towel Method: Wrap the trimmed asparagus loosely with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place it in a perforated plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. The moisture from the towel helps prevent the asparagus from drying out while maintaining its crispness. Store it in the refrigerator and use it within a few days.
Airtight container: If you have airtight containers or resealable bags, you can store the trimmed asparagus directly in them. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing. This method can help prevent moisture loss and keep the asparagus fresh for a few days in the refrigerator.
Freezing: If you want to store asparagus for a longer period, you can blanch it briefly in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then immediately transfer it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Pat dry the blanched asparagus and place it in freezer-safe bags or containers. Label them with the date and store in the freezer. Frozen asparagus can be used in cooked dishes later, but it may lose some of its crispness.