Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tales of the Asparagus

Tales of the Asparagus

Sadness always comes to me when I ask someone if they like asparagus and they reply with "I've never tried it."  I grew up eating asparagus and I love it to this day.  My mom often steamed it and that's a lovely way to cook it. (Mom was great at NOT overcooking it into a mushy mess!)  However, my fondness of asparagus has grown over the past several years when I prepare it by roasting it.  Nothing is as good as roasted asparagus.

To roast asparagus, you take the woody ends of the stalk off by cutting the lower 1/4-1/2 inch of the stalk off and discarding it.  Wash the asparagus, place on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast the asparagus in the oven in an even layer for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees until the stalks are starting to shrivel and the tips are gently browned.  This is truly the best way to eat asparagus!  If you've never had asparagus or you remember some mushy, overcooked, gross version from yesteryear, you owe it to yourself to try roasted asparagus!

Asparagus is usually well over $2.30 a pound here.  Since asparagus is a Springtime vegetable, it is now in season!  I've seen prices recently between 99 cents and $1.49 a pound.  This past week it was as low as 88 cents a pound.  With that being said, I had to take advantage of this sale!

I bought 11 pounds of asparagus...

The asparagus in the container to the left is about two pounds worth that we're roasting up for dinner tonight.  The asparagus pieces in the colander were roasted up for the dog.  Yes, our dog, Annie, loves roasted asparagus.  According to my husband who researched it, asparagus is good for dogs.  The cut up pieces in the front were roasted and canned into an "Asparagus Soup Base".  (That's another story for another day...) The pile of asparagus to the right is the pile I blanched.  Blanching asparagus is so easy and it's an enjoyable way to save money while enjoying the yummy veggie year round!  Here's how to do it...

Cut the ends of the asparagus off and discard.  Wash the veggie.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.  Place the asparagus in the boiling water for 90 seconds, making sure you don't allow it to be in the water any longer than 90 seconds.  This is called "blanching".  If you allow your asparagus to go much longer than 90 seconds, you'll end up with mushy one likes mushy asparagus, but we've established that already. 

When you remove the asparagus from the pot of boiling water, immediately place the stalks in a bowl of ice water.  This stops the asparagus from the cooking process and keeps it from becoming mushy.  Mushy is an evil word when it comes to asparagus.

After the asparagus spends a few minutes in its icy bath, remove the stalks to a cookie rack placed over a cookie sheet.  This allows the water to drip from the stalks.  You can leave it on here to cool completely.

All that's left to do now is to place the asparagus in freezer bags.  I have a Food Saver, so I used that to prepare it for the freezer.  Normal gallon-sized freezer bags would do the trick though!  Place only the amount in each bag that you want to prepare for a meal at a time.  When I want to cook this, I will allow a bag of it to thaw slightly and then roast it in the oven as mentioned above.

If you try to roast asparagus and/or blanch asparagus, please let us know how you like it.  This vegetable doesn't get enough time in the spotlight.  Not just because it's so yummy, but also because it's so very healthy for you! 


1 comment:

  1. This was an awesome post, Olivia! Now I know everything I ever wanted to know about asparagus, but was afraid to ask, lol! Seriously, I now want to eat asparagus in the worst way.