The real fans know, of course, when it starts and long time already. The others are happy when suddenly there are the white (or green) sticks at each corner. Usually it is so far in the second half of April - in principle, the asparagus harvest depends on the weather and the soil temperature.
When it is over again, says an old Franconian peasant rule: "cherries red, asparagus dead". Traditionally, June 24 (Johanni) is the last day. Then the harvest is stopped to allow the plants sufficient regeneration time until the next crop year.
Asparagus: healthy and low in calories
Although asparagus is enjoyed for its unparalleled aroma, gourmet bars also have nutritional and nutritional benefits. The botanical name Asparagus officinalis (lat. = Remedy) already suggests: Chinese, Romans and Greeks prescribed it as a remedy for all sorts of ill health.
Expressed in modern data: In one portion (500 grams) put only 85 kilocalories, but still 7.5 grams of fiber. One portion can cover more than 100 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C and folic acid, 90 percent for vitamin E and as much as about 50 percent for vitamins B1 and B2. In addition, asparagus stands out for its content of potassium, calcium and iron. Not to mention aspartic acid, potassium salts and essential oils, which together promote kidney activity and contribute to increased water excretion.
Recent studies also indicate that asparagus contains bioactive substances that inhibit carcinogenic substances. These include saponins, but also the dyes of green and purple asparagus.
How do I recognize good asparagus?
The asparagus is divided into quality classes:
- Extra class - of the highest quality
- Class I - of good quality
- Class II - the asparagus, which can not be classified higher, but fully complies with the minimum requirements.
Further evidence of good quality:
- Do the "freshness test": Good asparagus leaves juice when squeezed at the cut end; the juice smells fresh and does not taste sour.
- There is no discoloration or shrinkage, the rods are firm, the asparagus does not dry out.
- The heads of the white asparagus (pale asparagus) are firm, closed and not bloomed.
Otherwise: Greenish discolorations are not species-dependent, but say something about the time of harvest. Violet head discoloration is sorted.
Storage of asparagus
The asparagus tastes best fresh and should therefore be used immediately after shopping. Unwrapped wrapped in a damp cloth, it stays in the refrigerator (storage temperature: 5-10 ° C!) About 2-3 days without any flavor loss. Green asparagus is stored upright in water.
Does the asparagus really have to be that expensive?
The price of asparagus varies considerably from year to year and within each season. However, it is always relatively high, because the cultivation is complex, nurturing and labor intensive. For example, it is still "stung" by hand, which of course causes high personnel costs. In addition, the first harvest is expected in the third year after planting.
Is the chef to blame if the asparagus tastes bitter?
NO, because the asparagus tastes bitter only when it is too close to the rhizome. In this case, the asparagus ends must be cut more generously than "normal". Unfortunately, it is not helpful to extract bittering substances from the asparagus by adding a small amount of sugar to the cooking water. Really bitter-tasting asparagus is not improved by this.
All year asparagus?
YES, because you can freeze the asparagus very well. The preparation is washed and peeled, the woody parts are cut off. Frozen asparagus can be stored for about 6-8 months. Then he should not thawed, but the frozen stalks are given directly into the boiling water.
White or green asparagus?
A matter of taste! In contrast to the white or purple "asparagus" asparagus grows above the earth. The sunlight makes it green (chlorophyll). That's why green asparagus contains more vitamin C and carotene than its white brother. It also tastes a little savory and does not have to be peeled (apart from the ends). He also has a shorter cooking time.