Large California Asparagus
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|Food Buzz: History of Asparagus|
Large asparagus are varieties that maintain their quintessential textural and flavor qualities even at mature sizes. They have plump pale green stalks with knobby scales and cruciferous-tree shaped tips. They are firm in texture with balsam aromatics and their flavor is grassy, nutty and earthy sweet.
Typically available year-round, asparagus is at its finest from winter through spring.
Asparagus, botanical name Asparagus officinalis, is a member of the Liliaceae family. It is a perennial herb with an underground rhizome known as the plant's crown. It is cultivated for its edible young stems, known as spears, which emerge in spring and summer. Large asparagus are harvested and sold in uniform sizes according to the diameter of the spears.
Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin K. It also contains more glutathione than any other fruit or vegetable. This antioxidant plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers and diseases, nutrient metabolism and regulating DNA and protein synthesis.
All asparagus spears should be snapped at their natural breaking or bending point. Discard the lower parts as they are more fibrous and woody. Jumbo asparagus can be sauteed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. Spring ingredients such as morel mushrooms, green garlic, wild ramps, fennel, leeks, young lettuces and citruses such as lemon and grapefruit are most suitable pairings. Other complimentary ingredients include aged nutty cheeses such as pecorino and alpine cheeses, bacon, sausage, lamb, proscuitto, cream, eggs, butter, shallots, herbs such as thyme, basil and chervil, yeasty breads like sourdough and wheat and grains such as aborio rice, quinoa and farro.
Locally grown and located fifty-four miles north of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, California, Life's a Choke produces nearly thirty varieties of impressive specialty crops.
Recipes that include Large California Asparagus. One is easiest, three is harder.