Friday, June 5, 2009

How to buy Asapargus

Asparagus is available year round due in part to the U.S. Government's War on Drugs. By lifting restrictive tariffs on produce imports from Peru to encourage growers to stop growing cocoa and produce legal crops instead.

Good quality asparagus should be just as tender raw as it is cooked. It's a myth that smaller asparagus is more tender and here's a never fail test when you're shopping at your local supermarket. Pick up a bunch of asparagus and snap the bottom end of a stalk between your finger and thumb, it should snap easily if it's fresh. Try to snap the stalk as close to the bottom as possible, this will tell you how much of the stalk is edible. The bottom part of the stalk will be tough and should be discarded, the top will be tender. This is also how to prepare asparagus for cooking, never use a knife to cut the bottoms. Taste it raw you might be pleasantly surprised.

When you're buying asparagus avoid bunches that have lots of white or purplish colored stalks, these will be very tough. Whether the stalks are thick or thin this will always hold true. Smell the tips, if they smell unpleasant the asparagus is bad and some of the tips will be slimy. Asparagus will last in your fridge over a week if you stand up the bunch in a bowl or glass in 1 inch of water.

White Asparagus is considered a real delicacy though I never fully appreciated it. Usually twice the price of the green variety, it's so tender that just touching the stalk with your finger can instantly snap it. Usually it is sold wrapped with only the tips and bottoms exposed to prevent this from happening. The asparagus is white because they mound dirt over it to cover it from exposure to light while it's growing. Old white asparagus at the store will turn greenish in color the longer it's exposed to light and the stalks will be visibly shrivelled.


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