South Carolina grown asparagus appears each spring. The best spears are unwithered and have tightly closed tips. Store fresh asparagus 3-4 days in the refrigerator with the cut ends wrapped in a wet paper towel to maintain quality. Refrigeration storage time may be extended by loosely standing the spears upright (use a glass or vase) in the coldest part of the refrigerator with the cut ends sitting in clean water. Change water as soon as it becomes cloudy. Before preparation, wash spears under running water to remove grit, especially near the tip. Trim away the cut end of the spear until only the tender portion of the stalk remains.
One pound of fresh asparagus will yield approximately 4 half-cup servings. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, Potassium, and Folate.
Only a brief cooking time is required to achieve a tender crisp texture and bright flavor. Typical preparation methods include blanching, steaming, and stir-frying.
To blanch, bring water to a rolling boil, add washed and trimmed asparagus, and quickly return the water to full boil. Cook 2-5 minutes until bright green. Serve immediately. Or, plunge vegetable into ice water to stop the cooking process and set the color.
To steam, add washed and trimmed asparagus portions to steamer basket and sit basket over 1-inch of rapidly boiling water. Cover with tight fitting lid and steam approximately 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
To stir-fry, add washed and trimmed asparagus to a hot skillet with a scant amount of oil. Cook and stir until asparagus is bright green and tender crisp.
Asparagus has a fresh, unique flavor that pairs well with many marinades and dressings. Lightly salted and buttered, however, allows the flavor of the vegetable to shine