Fresh spring dishes are made all the more delicious when made with seasonal ingredients. This spring, stock up on bright green bundles of asparagus, a versatile ingredient boasting plenty of nutrients and flavor—especially at this time of year! Whether roasted as a simple side dish for dinner, baked into a tasty breakfast quiche, or served raw in a hearty salad, there’s no better time to enjoy this vegetable than when it’s at its tastiest and most affordable. To help our customers, Foodtown is pleased to offer tips for selecting the best asparagus and for keeping it fresh for as long as possible.
How to Choose Fresh Asparagus
When shopping for asparagus at your local Foodtown, there are few things to look for to ensure you wind up with a fresh bundle. Here are some of our best grocery store tips:
- Texture: Look for asparagus stalks that are firm to the touch, able to stand up straight, and with a smooth texture. Avoid stalks that appear limp or wilted. The tips of asparagus should be closed and compact, free from spreading or softness.
- Color: Asparagus should be should be rich in green color, softly fading to white at the bottom of the stalk. Avoid those dull in color, as this indicates the asparagus is passed freshness. The tips of asparagus may display dark green or purple highlights.
- Size: Asparagus can be grown in several different sizes, ranging from small to jumbo. All sizes are flavorful, but it is important to select a bundle with stalks that are uniform in length and thickness, as this makes preparation easier and will result in more consistent cooking.
How to Store Fresh Asparagus
Keeping asparagus fresh can be challenging, as the bottom of the stems must remain moist while the tips should be kept as dry as possible. To keep asparagus fresh, refrain from washing them until just before preparation. They may be stored in one of the following ways:
- Trim the bottom of the stalks and wrap only the cut ends in a wet paper towel. Store in a large, loose plastic bag and place in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Trim the bottom of the stalks and fill a bowl or vase with about 1-inch of water. Place the trimmed ends of the stalks in the water and cover the tips with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Seasonal Spring Eating: Asparagus Gruyere Tart
- Flour, for dusting the work surface
- 2 Cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry
- ½ Pounds of Medium-Thickness Asparagus
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Flour your working surface and roll out the puff pastry into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Trim any uneven edges and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Use a paring knife to lightly score the outer edges of the puff pastry rectangle, creating about a 1-inch frame. Use a fork to pierce the dough inside of the frame, helping to avoid puffing. Bake for about 15-minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle with shredded gruyere. Trim the white ends from the stalk of each asparagus spear and arrange in a single crosswise layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and spears are tender.
Seasonal Shopping at Foodtown – That’s Smart!
By shopping for the season, you’ll enjoy peak flavors, the highest nutritional value, and the most affordable pricing. Shop fresh asparagus for spring eating at Foodtown, where you can take advantage of not only high-quality ingredients but also the adding savings found in our Weekly Circular. Be sure to use these tips for selecting asparagus to make the best purchase!