Also Known as
Shatwar, Shatwari, Soot mooli
Asparagus is an elegant vegetable with unique flavour an erect stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk, capped by a ruffle of small leaves; a young stalk is tender with a slightly pungent, bitter flavour, an apple green colour and a purple-tinged tip; becomes tougher as it ages. The Length: 11 / 15 / 17cm and Diameter: 8 - 12mm, 12 - 16mm, 16 - 22mm. Asparagus comes in the following grades: colossal, jumbo, large, standard, and small.
Asparagus are available in 3 varieties:
The spears (asparagus are shaped like spears) should be cut at a diagonal in pieces that are only between one and two inches long. This technique of cutting will expose the most flesh and help to ensure that the dish in which cut asparagus is used is cooked evenly.
You can separate the spears form the stalks and blanch each separately or together as per the requirement of the recipe. How to blanch, boil water, add the spear boil for minutes, drain and immerse them in ice cold water to retain its bright green colour, pat to dry and use immediately or can be store in a an air tight container for a day or two in deep freezer. Blanch small spears for 2 minutes, medium spears 3 minutes and large spears 4 minutes. If steam blanching, add an additional minute. Cool promptly and drain. You can chop the blanched asparagus finely or roughly as per recipe requirements.
Chopped and parboiled asparagus
Wash the asparagus thoroughly. Chop asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces or you can chop big or small as desired.
Diagonally cut asparagus
Wash the asparagus thoroughly in cold water and drain. Place them on a chopping board and slice them diagonally into about 2 cm. strips or as per your recipe requirement.
Ranging from pencil-thin to very thick. It is very easily available and is a treat food
Purple Asparagus- It is very delicious and tasteful and has a very thick and substantial stalk.
Thicker spears may have tougher, woodier ends, but these are broken off before cooking anyway. The key is to select straight, firm, uniformly sized spears with closed tips
Thinner stalks will cook much more quickly than thicker ones.
How to Select
Whether you prefer the thick or thin spears, be certain they are fresh. The sugar in the plant quickly converts to starch after harvesting, causing a loss in flavor and development of a woody texture. Select firm, straight, smooth, rich green stalks with tightly-closed tips. Ridges in the stems and a dull green color are an indication of old age. The stalks should not be limp or dry at the cut. Choose stalks of uniform thickness for more control in the cooking process.
· Asparagus should be steamed not boiled, as it looses its valuable salt content.
· Asparagus can be prepared just about any way you can think of: boiled, steamed, micro waved (which are pretty much the same thing), sauted, stir-fried, grilled, roasted, in soups, savoury custards and in salads.
· Asparagus needs to be cooked quickly to a tender-crisp texture especially in stir fries.
· Asparagus should be served warm or at room temperature as refrigeration dulls the flavor.
· The shoots can be prepared and served in a number of ways, and are Asparagus may often boiled or steamed and served with melted butter or olive oil.
· You can enjoy asparagus in many different dishes: in soups, salads, stir-fries, risottos, scrambled eggs, pasta, and many more dishes besides. It can also be quickly grilled over charcoal or hardwood embers. Asparagus can also be pickled and stored for several years. Some brands may label them as "marinated" which means the same thing.
· Asparagus can be served hot or cold, plain or with a sauce, or pureed for delicious soups and toppings.
How to Store
Asparagus begins to lose its sweetness as soon as it's picked, so try to cook it as soon as possible after you buy it. Do not wash asparagus before storing and never soak it. Trim the ends of fresh asparagus and stand them upright in a jar with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic bag and store spears in the refrigerator for up to two days
· It is an excellent food for strengthening the heart. It is a food medicine for weak or enlarged hearts by combining the fresh juice with honey. Taken twice a day will be advantageous.
· Liberal use of asparagus acts as a rejuvenator.
· It is a very good body cleanser.
· It also prevents or combats body acidity.
· Asparagus is a natural diuretic, and a heart-healthy food, containing no fat, cholesterol or sodium