The month of May is Asparagus Month. This popular vegetable is one of the lily family’s cultivated forms. The optimum season for fresh asparagus last from February through June, although hot house asparagus is available year around in some regions. The earliest, most tender stalks are a beautiful apple green with purple-tinged tips. Europeans prefer white asparagus which is grown underground to prevent it from becoming green, due to lack of sunlight. White spears are usually thick and are smoother than the green variety. There is also a purple variety called viola. When buying asparagus, choose firm, bright green or (pale ivory) stalks with tight tips. Asparagus plants live 8 to 10 years and the spear’s size indicates the age of the plant from which it came-the more mature the plant, the thicker the asparagus. It is best cooked the same day it’s purchased, but will keep, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Or store standing upright in about an inch of water, covering the container with a plastic bag. Asparagus is grown in sandy soil so through washing is necessary to ensure the tips are not gritty. If asparagus stems are tough, remove the outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Asparagus contains a good amount of vitamin A and is a fair source of iron and vitamins B and C.
Source: Food Lovers Guide www.barronsedu.com