Vegetables Back to a-z of foods

Asparagus

Buying

Though asparagus can be found in many supermarkets year-round, it is usually imported from far afield. Irish asparagus has a very short growing season. Traditionally, the Irish asparagus season begins in late April and ends 6-8 weeks later around Midsummer’s Day.

Choose asparagus with firm stems and tightly closed heads. If the bottom of the stem looks dry, it may not be very fresh.

Storing

Asparagus stores better when slightly damp. Try wrapping it in a damp cloth or kitchen paper and place in a container in the fridge. Alternatively, maximise the life of your asparagus shoots by putting them in a glass of water, as you would do with flowers, in the fridge. Make sure to change the water regularly. It is best is to cook asparagus soon after purchasing.

Freezing

Blanch for 2 – 4 minutes before freezing.

Freezer life

up to 1 year

Using up

Asparagus tips can be used in omelettes, quiches, salads, risottos or pasta dishes. The more fibrous heels can be blended into soup or creamy sauces. Good quality asparagus is best served simply; blanch the stems and serve with homemade vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese.

Good to know!

Asparagus is a great vegetable to choose in late spring when little else is in season.

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