Small California Asparagus
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Tender and tasty, small asparagus is especially popular with chefs. Fresh and flavorful, this thin asparagus is a popular vegetable in fine restaurants.
Typically available year-round, asparagus is at its finest from winter through spring.
Nutritious asparagus provides a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, plus calcium, iron and some protein. Asparagus is also rich in folate and dietary fiber. Fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free, one-half cup cooked asparagus contains about 23 calories. This nutritious vegetable is a useful source of vegetable protein. The greener the asparagus, the higher the concentration of nutrients. Eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables lowers the chances of cancer. A recent study found that eating nine or ten daily servings of fruits and vegetables, combined with three servings of low-fat dairy products, were effective in lowering blood pressure.
For an easy appetizer, fresh raw spears are absolutely delicious served with dips. Briefly steam; drizzle with hollandaise sauce or melted butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for a palate-pleasing crunch. Serve as a side dish or use as an edible garnish. Pair with fish and seafood entrées. Simmer uncovered in a saucepan with an inch or two of water only until crisp-tender, depending on the thickness of the spears. Taste for desired tenderness. Bundles of spears may be tied, pointing in the same direction and cooked together. Add to salads, sandwiches, omelets, quiches and curries. A squirt of lemon juice or a splash of sesame oil brings out this vegetable's delectable flavor. Able to take on bold flavors, complementary herbs include thyme, chives, tarragon and parsley. To store, wrap stems in a damp paper towel; place in plastic bag; refrigerate. Asparagus should be enjoyed as soon as possible after purchase for optimum quality and flavor.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus was cultivated in monastery gardens along with valuable medicinal herbs.
Locally grown and located fifty-four miles north of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, California, Green Family Farms, also known as Life's A Choke, produces nearly thirty varieties of impressive specialty crops. Enjoying consistent cool ocean breezes and an average year round daily temperature of 65 degrees, Green Family Farms credits ideal climate conditions for its superior produce. Specializing in a several varieties of fresh cut asparagus, artichokes, broccoli crowns, snow white cauliflower plus beautiful baby squash and sensational squash blossoms, this prosperous farm has been providing the marketplace with its superb bounty for seventeen years. Specialty Produce strongly supports and proudly promotes the California farming industry and our local farmers, ranchers and growers. Fresh asparagus was a favorite staple of the Incas. The Romans are believed to be the first to domesticate this still popular vegetable. Enjoyed for more than 2000 years, and not at all fussy, asparagus grows wherever it can find a good footing. Asparagus especially loves ancient hedges and undisturbed country roads. Produced from a root system made up of fleshy rhizomes known as the "crown", asparagus is a perennial that may be productive for twenty to twenty-five years and possibly more with good care. Requiring sunny days for maximum photosynthesis, asparagus prefers deep well-drained soils and should have two full growing seasons before the spears are harvested. Generally, a forty-foot row of five-year-old asparagus plants yields about ten to twenty-five pounds of spears during an average growing season.
Recipes that include Small California Asparagus. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Modern Beet||Springtime Vegetable Tart with Peas, Asparagus, and Basil|
|Produce on Parade||Spring Asparagus Buckwheat Salad|
|Stephen Cooks||Asaragus Rice|