Asparagus not only tastes divine, but is also extremely good for you. It is packed full of nutrients including fibre (including inulin – the prebiotic food that encourages healthy gut flora balance), B vitamins, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium (a trace mineral that supports blood sugar balance), and also many phytonutrients and anti-oxidants such as saponins, and glutathione. Given this rich source of many nutrients, asparagus has been linked to many health benefits including: Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity (which may give a protective effect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer), healthy blood sugar management (which helps to prevent or manage diabetes), immune support, energy metabolism and digestive support.
How to select and store:
Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Use asparagus within a day or two of buying for best flavour and texture. Store in the fridge with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel, or if you have space in your fridge stand them in a jug / glass of water.
Preparing and cooking asparagus:
Wash asparagus under cold water to remove any sand or soil. Asparagus tends to be woody towards the bottom, instead of chopping the stems to remove the woody bit try snapping them by holding the asparagus (one at a time) at both ends and bending it until it snaps. The asparagus tip will snap at exactly the right point where it starts to turn woody. Don’t throw away the woody ends as these can be used in soup or stock.
When it comes to cooking asparagus, less is definitely more. Just steam them for about 4 minutes, and serve them with some melted butter and a dash of lemon juice, or dip them into a soft boiled egg. Delicious……..
For more adventurous recipes, visit www.british-asparagus.co.uk