Asparagus is a member of the lily family that also includes onions, leeks, and garlic. Today’s asparagus has been bred from wild plants that were native to western and central Asia and central Europe. Asparagus has always been considered a luxury vegetable, highly prized in ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece.
Care and Handling
Ideal Storage Temperature: 37°-41°F. 95-100% relative humidity. Refrigerate immediately after receiving. Asparagus is highly sensitive to chilling injury.
- Good quality asparagus should be fresh and firm with closed, compact tips and good green color. The green portion should be tender.
- To keep asparagus fresh, cut 1/2 inch off of the base of the stalk and stand the asparagus upright in an inch of warm water (do not let the tips soak in water!). This will also revive asparagus that looks wilted and limp.
- For an elegant appetizer or spring salad, steam asparagus, sprinkle with red wine or Balsamic vinegar and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with chopped toasted almonds.
Did You Know?
There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III.