It’s All Stem in Here
April 18, 2023
Summer is fast approaching and as the weather warms up, that means asparagus season is back. Our students speared the facts on Asparagus in April.
Asparagus is a rather long, thin, vegetable that you can find sold by the bunch in the grocery store. But did you know that when left to grow, Asparagus can grow much longer? In fact, the Guinness World Record for the Longest Asparagus is 138.5 inches long, held by Harry and Carson Willemse in Canada. That’s nearly 11.5 ft!
Asparagus is considered a flowering plant, the edible part you typically eat is known as the stem. When in season, asparagus grows very quickly, up to an inch per hour in the summer heat. Farmers are rushing, sometimes daily, to cut the stalks and prepare them for sale. They can then be flown overnight, and available on supermarket shelves shortly after.
This is where you come in. Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be sauteed, grilled, or baked. If you’re looking to add asparagus to your summer meals, make sure you use your senses when shopping. Look for stalks that are firm and can stand up straight. Do not buy stalks that are limp or flimsy, or smell bad.
Also, consider what you’re using the asparagus for. While both thick and thin asparagus taste the same, the texture varies. Thicker spears tend to have a slightly better texture because the fibers are more concentrated in a thinner spear. Additionally, the cooking method can have an impact on the outcome of the spear. For example, broiling or roasting asparagus tends to quickly shrivel thinner spears due to the intense high heat, so you will want to opt for thicker spears in this instance. Save the thinner spears for steaming and stir-frying!
Once you’ve purchased your asparagus, make sure you thoroughly wash it before you cook. Dirt and grit can get stuck in the heads of the asparagus so you want to run it under cold water for a good length of time, or soak it in a bowl.
Now that you’ve got your asparagus prepped and ready to go it’s time to cook! Might we suggest making asparagus roll ups as a quick and healthy snack for the summer.
Asparagus Roll Ups
- 6 spears fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
- 4 oz. of ⅓ less fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped green onions
- 6 slices of whole grain bread
- 3 slices of turkey or ham (low sodium) cut in half
- Blend together the softened cream cheese and the chopped green onions.
- Roll out each bread slice with a rolling pin until flat.
- Spread cream cheese mixture onto flattened bread slice.
- Wrap each trimmed asparagus spear with turkey or ham.
- Add rolled asparagus onto the prepared bread and roll.
Voila! A healthy snack the whole family will approve of!