Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Master Food Preservers: Asparagus tips

By
From page B4 | April 03, 2013 | Leave Comment

MASTER FOOD PRESERVER Monique Wilber. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

MASTER FOOD PRESERVER Monique Wilber. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

Asparagus is the herald of spring and when its tender stalks are in season, it is the time that we see daffodils and flowering fruit trees along the country roads.

Asparagus is seasonally available during March through June.

Low in calories (less than 4 calories per spear) and sodium, asparagus is a nutrient-dense food that is high in folic acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.

Choose young, slender spears for tenderness. More mature stems are thick and tough, and you will need to snap off those tough bottom ends. The most delicate taste is in the asparagus tips.

Look for firm, fresh, spears with closed, compact tips and uniform diameter, so that all spears will cook in the same amount of time.

Always rinse asparagus well under cool running water — do not soak or use detergents to clean.

Asparagus can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Use pieces raw in salads or steam in a double boiler by covering pot with a lid and steaming until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

To stir fry, cut spears diagonally in 1/2 inch pieces, leaving tips whole. Stir-fry pieces in hot oil or butter in a skillet or wok at medium high heat. Stir constantly until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

Microwave fresh asparagus by placing one pound in a microwavable baking dish or serving bowl. If cooking whole spears, arrange with tips in center. Add about 1/4 cup water and cover tightly. Microwave at 100 percent power for 4 to 7 minutes for spears, or 3 to 5 minutes for cuts and tips. Stir or turn halfway through cooking time.

Asparagus can also be pressure canned or pickled using approved and safe recipes (The Master Food Preservers recommend the recipes at the National Center for Home Food Preservation at nchfp.uga.edu/ ).

Freezing is a nutritionally superb way to preserve fresh asparagus. Asparagus maintains better quality during freezer storage if it is blanched, which is heating enough to destroy enzymes, before freezing. Enzyme action can cause loss of flavor, color, texture and nutrients. The goal of blanching is not to cook the vegetable but just to heat it throughout.

To blanch asparagus, use one gallon of boiling water for one pound of vegetables. Cut in 2-inch lengths or leave as spears. Put the vegetables into actively boiling water. Put the lid on the pan, wait for the water to return to a boil and then start counting the blanching time. Blanching times: small stalks, 2 minutes; medium stalks, 3 minutes; large stalks, 4 minutes.

As soon as blanching is complete, immediately plunge asparagus into 3 or 4 gallons of clean ice-cold water. Cool for the same amount of time recommended for blanching.

Drain asparagus and package in airtight, moisture-proof containers.

For questions about safe home food preservation or to schedule a speaker for organizations or clubs on the topics of food safety or food preservation, call the Master Food Preservers at 530-621-5506.

For more information be sure to go to the Master Food Preserver Website at cecentralsierra.ucanr.org/Master_Food_Preservers/. Sign up to receive the Master Food Preservers e-newsletter at ucanr.org/mfpenews/.

Monique Wilber

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

 
More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 71 Comments | Gallery

 
Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 23 Comments

 
Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

.

Letters

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 20 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Misquote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

 
.

Sports

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

 
Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8