This highly prized vegetable arrives with the coming of spring, when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. In California the first crops are picked as early as February, however, their season generally is considered to run from April through May. The growing season in the Midwest and East extends through July.
Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for almost 2000 years. Its presence across most continents is partly due to its many different species. Some of these species, like Asparagus officinalis,, are widely cultivated and consumed as staple foods. Other species, like Asparagus racemosus, widely found in India and the Himilayas, have been used in a more medicinal context. In the case of Asparagus racemosus, also known as Shatavari, there is a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, especially in relationship to digestive problems. Various species of asparagus were cultivated by Egyptian cultures beginning as early as 3000 B.C., and by European cultures including early Greek and Roman cultures. Asparagus also became particularly popular in France during the 18th century during the rule of Louis XIV. In terms of commercial production, China (587,500 tons) and Peru (186,000 tons) are currently the world's largest producers and exporters of asparagus. Next in line as commercial producers are the United States (102,780 tons) and Mexico (67,247 tons).
Tip: Thin asparagus does not require peeling. Asparagus with thick stems should be peeled because the stems are usually tough and stringy. Remove the tough outer skin of the bottom portion of the stem (not the tips) with a vegetable peeler. Wash asparagus under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues. It is best to cook asparagus whole.
I made this recipe a while back. Turned out good.
Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Copyright 2012, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
24 asparagus spears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Wash asparagus and snap off ends where they naturally want to break.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place trimmed asparagus in boiling water, when water returns to a boil, cook asparagus until crisp tender, about 1 to 3 minutes. Drain. Return asparagus to pot, add extra virgin olive oil, butter and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Enjoy!