Asparagus makes a flavorful accompaniment to salads, meat dishes, casseroles, and soups. It is quite healthy too. A half cup of frozen asparagus, which is typical serving size contains 30% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fresh asparagus is available in most grocery stores, but if you can’t find fresh, frozen is a suitable alternative.
If you do some research on asparagus, you will quickly learn this veggie is full of antioxidants, and it is best in the spring. You may also find that this vegetable is a favorite of Italians and Greeks, so if your ancestral tree has either or both, you may have eaten a lot of asparagus growing up.
Buy Good Asparagus
On your quest to buy the best asparagus at your market, look for the rubber-band packed bunches which are bright green with closed tips. If the tips are slightly open, cold water will revive them back to life. Asparagus stalks can be frozen and when it is time to use it, cook it frozen. Just don’t let it thaw out first or you will lose crispness.
Health Benefits Of Asparagus
Before we jump to the cooking techniques, let’s just point out that asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced plant-derived foods.First of all, it contains lots of insoluble and soluble fiber, making it a good choice if you are trying to lose weight. Because your body slowly digests fiber, it keeps you feeling full in between meals.
Asparagus contains a high level of asparagine (amino acid), making it a natural diuretic. Eating more asparagus can help flush excess salt and fluid from your body, which may help prevent infections of urinary tract. It is also full of anthocyanins, which give veggies and fruits their purple, green and red hues and have antioxidant effects which could help your body in fighting damaging free radicals.
It contains vitamin E, which is another important antioxidant. Vitamin E helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from harmful effects of free radicals. Keep in mind that our body absorbs that vitamin is better if it is eaten alongside some fat.
You want to consider adding asparagus to your next date night menu, as the vegetable is a natural aphrodisiac thanks to folate and vitamin B6, which can help arousal and boost feelings. Plus, vitamin E stimulates sex hormones including testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
It can ease a hangover too! If you crave a greasy breakfast in the morning after too many drinks, the asparagus might be a better choice. Minerals in asparagus extract can protect liver cells from toxins in alcohol.
And when it comes to fighting bloat, asparagus packs a mean punch! The vegetable helps promote overall digestive health. Thanks to prebiotics- carbohydrates which can’t be digested and help encourage a healthy balance of probiotics (good bacteria in your digestive tract) and it can also reduce gas.
Ways Of Cooking Asparagus
Learning how to cook asparagus isn’t hard. In fact, it is one of the easiest vegetables to cook. When it comes to cooking it frozen asparagus, there are many ways to choose from:
Select a bag of frozen asparagus which has already been cut into pieces and tips. Cut your asparagus into ½ inch-pieces and tips before freezing if you freeze your own. Heat one tbsp of olive oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
After that, add the pieces of frozen asparagus to the skillet and continuously stir with a spatula up to five minutes, or until the asparagus is tender but slightly crisp. Remove the skillet from the heat and scoop the asparagus out onto a plate with your spatula to serve.
Add a few inches of water to the pot and place the steamer basket inside. After that, put the pot and basket on your stovetop over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Next step is to place frozen asparagus into the steamer basket and place a lid on top of the pot. Steam the veggie for a few minutes, until firm but tender.
Remove the pot from the heat and use tongs to remove asparagus from steamer basket. Serve immediately.
Things you’ll need
• Skillet or wok
• Olive oil
• Steamer basket
Add garlic, herbs or lemon juice to the water when cooking for added flavor. Freeze your fresh asparagus by blanching it in boiling water for two minutes, cooling in ice water, draining and placing it in an airtight freezer bag.
Trim the end before blanching if you freeze asparagus by yourself. Frozen asparagus from the store will have the stingy end trimmed off.
Garlic and Butter
Any home cook will agree that butter and garlic are going to be able to save just anything, and this holds true with frozen asparagus. If you are looking to jazz up the skillet even further, throw in some bacon and scallions, or top the veggie with chimichurri, gremolata or some fresh herbs.
Before you plate your spears, hit the serving dish with a smear of labneh or Greek yogurt. How well does that sound?
Yeah, that’s right. Toss your frozen asparagus in some olive oil and get those spears straight to the grill(ideally alongside a hearty steak). Wait until you have reached the picture- perfect sear marks, and season them with pepper and salt once they are off. Dinner. Is. Served.
Contrary to a prevalent belief, frozen vegetables can and should be roasted! We know that the bag says to steam them…Well, don’t. Give them a good rub in a cooking fat of your choice, pepper, salt and slide your rimmed baking sheet full of them into a hot oven (let’s say 425 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook them until they are nice and charred.
Yeah, the fresh stuff is apparently ideal for this cooking method, but don’t write off the option of roasting frozen vegetables until you give it a whirl.
Make An Asian-Inspired Stir Fry
You know what ingredients asparagus just loves? Garlic, chili and soy sauce. Don’t deprive that frozen asparagus of such a righteous experience! Just go ahead and toss these frozen spears along with whatever else you have got into a hot wok!
Frittatas And Quiches
To make up for the abundant amounts of butter and heavy ice cream you ought to be adding to this brunch staple, you want to go ahead and balance that out with some green. Specifically, frozen asparagus-you just made a damn good quiche!
Casseroles And Pasta Bakes
The same logic which is used for frittatas and quiches applies here- there is already a lot of dairy going into the mix, so brighten up the whole situation with a hearty helping of veggies. Plus, it is a nice change of pace if you are always relying on spinach or kale for that burst of green.
Like we already said, this veggie is impressive when it comes to health benefits, which are numerous. Even when frozen, asparagus doesn’t lose its natural taste and nutritiousness when cooked properly. It is so easy and quick to cook, and there are many ways to do it, so- Bon appetit!