Varieties of asparagus externally can differ dramatically. There is a difference in the degree of maturation of this vegetable. Young stems do not need to be cleaned and they have sufficient tenderness and softness after cooking. Old asparagus can also be eaten, but first it will have to be thoroughly cleaned.
Asparagus may be:
The main sign of the difference between young stems and old ones is their thickness and color. In the first case, the asparagus will be thinner with a bright and saturated hue, and in the second, the color will be darker and the stems much thicker.
Asparagus can be sold in bunches, in containers or wrapped in cling film. The packaging option and its availability does not have a special effect on the safety and quality of the stems, but if possible, asparagus must be purchased in the form of bunches. Otherwise, it will be difficult to determine the quality of the stems securely covered with packaging material.
How to choose Asparagus
The most important criterion for choosing asparagus is to buy a vegetable of the desired ripening stage. Color in this case plays a secondary role, but it must be saturated green.
What Asparagus Can I Buy:
- the ends of the asparagus must be closed
- asparagus must be firm
- shoots with seeds on asparagus should not be,
- the asparagus is odorless,
- if asparagus is bought in a package, there should be no condensate even in a minimal amount,
- the appearance of asparagus should be as fresh as possible without signs of drying or wilting,
- the asparagus must be clean, without damage or dark spots on the stems,
- the stem shape of good asparagus is always round.
What asparagus is not worth buying:
- if the tips of the asparagus are ajar, the vegetable is overripe,
- if the stem has a flat shape, then you should refuse to buy (a similar decision should be made if the stem is smooth and ribbed),
- if there are arrows with seeds on the tip of the stem, then the asparagus is overripe,
- if the stem of the asparagus is too thin, then its taste will be too grassy (a sign of unripe asparagus)
- You shouldn’t buy asparagus with signs of decay or pest damage,
- it is not recommended to buy asparagus with numerous points on the surface of the stems or dry patches (asparagus affected by diseases is distinguished by such signs),
- if the stems of the asparagus are wet, then the vegetable was either washed to remove signs of corruption, or it had already begun to rot,
- asparagus with any smell should cause a refusal to purchase,
- washed asparagus is stored for a minimum amount of time,
- if asparagus is sold in a package with a large accumulation of condensate, then the stems have already begun to deteriorate or have been stored incorrectly,
- Asparagus with dry tips of the stems is also not worth buying.
You can determine the freshness of asparagus by cutting stems. If this area is dried and the internal fibrillation is clearly visible, then the asparagus will be too dry after cooking. The fibrous structure of the stems appears only if the asparagus is old.
Three Asparagus Varieties
Asparagus - perennial plants, herbaceous or shrubby. There are several varieties of asparagus shoots that differ in color from each other:
- Green asparagus - grown in the light, it has a lot of chlorophyll and this variety is most useful, has a bright taste.
- White asparagus - it is grown without sunlight, sprinkling sprouted shoots with soil. The taste of this asparagus is delicate and neutral, but there are much less useful substances in it than in green, but there are more calories.
- Violet asparagus - characterized by a minimum of coarse fibers and a relatively high sugar content. As soon as the shoots of such an asparagus are evenly colored under the sun, they are collected, and the stems retain their color, which, however, they lose when processed by heat.
Earlier, white asparagus was considered aristocratic - the most tender and juicy of the three, it easily takes on the taste of seasonings and sauces. But in our age, the benefits of green has become more relevant. Purple asparagus is distinguished by its special taste and rarity, so few can really appreciate its quality.
Wild asparagus is also known in the Crimea, the Caucasus and the Middle East, Western Siberia, southern Europe, and Africa.
In Russia, asparagus is sometimes called the Korean dish "fuju" - a dried film obtained from the production of soy milk. Soy asparagus, the use of which is caused by a high content of protein and fats - the most useful amino acids - does not taste like asparagus at all.
The benefits of asparagus
Asparagus, the benefits of which are known all over the world, is full of minerals: potassium, copper, selenium, manganese and vitamins: K, A, C, E, group B. There are a lot of asparagus and dietary fiber in shoots, but there are very few calories (only 21 kcal per 100 grams of green stems).
Green asparagus is most useful - especially for pregnant women in the early stages, because for the harmonious development of the fetus they need enough folic acid.
The beneficial substances of asparagus are involved in the formation of connective tissue, strengthening bones, hematopoiesis and the work of almost all systems of internal organs. Although the use of asparagus enhances immunity and cleanses, nourishes the skin (in the form of masks), it also has contraindications: stomach diseases, cystitis and prostatitis, rheumatism of the joints.