Asparagus

walnutsAsparagus are long, thin, spear-like vegetables that are part of the lily family. These tender green vegetables are harvested throughout the spring and into the early summer. Asparagus can be served a number of ways and have been a part of the world-wide food landscape for centuries. The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. This highly prized vegetable arrives with the coming of spring, when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. 

Asparagus Varieties

Most asparagus sold fresh are the green variety, but white asparagus can sometimes be found in stores. White asparagus is more tender than the green variety and has a milder flavor. While fairly rare in the United States, white asparagus are common in Northern Europe, where they are sometimes called the “royal vegetable”. Asparagus can also be purchased canned or pickled. Canned asparagus contains some added salt and tends to have a much softer texture than asparagus cooked from fresh. Pickled asparagus is packed in a salty and acidic brine, which gives it a slightly tangy flavor. Pickled asparagus is sometimes labeled as “marinated” asparagus. Other herbs and spices are sometimes added to pickled or marinated asparagus. Asparagus can be frozen and is often a component of frozen stir fry mixes. Because asparagus is quite hearty in texture, it holds up well to freezing and provides a great deal of texture without becoming mushy.