Asparagus's deep pistachio-green stalks are tender at the tip and slightly woody and thick towards the end, and a slight purple blush often occurs around the stalk and throughout the conical tip. Standard Asparagus' mildly grassy and sweet flavor matches that of its larger and smaller counterparts.
Standard asparagus is available in markets year-round, with its peak season in spring.
Asparagus, botanically known as Asparagus officinalis, is a member of the Liliaceae family. Considered a perennial herb, asparagus has an underground rhizome from which its edible young stems, known as spears, emerge during the spring and summer months. Asparagus plants are either male or female, the females volunteer seeds while males do not. Having less energy spent on producing seeds creates a thicker, more flavorful stalk, driving higher demand for male asparagus. This demand for male asparagus has put new cultivars on the market bred to produce only male plants. These cultivars include Jersey Giant, Jersey Supreme and Jersey Knight and all are cost efficient.
Asparagus contains more glutathione than any other fruit or vegetable. This antioxidant plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers and diseases, nutrient metabolism and regulating DNA and protein synthesis.
Standard asparagus may be used in all recipes calling for any size asparagus. All asparagus spears should be snapped at their natural breaking or bending point. Discard the lower parts as they are too fibrous and woody to eat. Standard asparagus can be sauteed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. Spring ingredients such as morel mushrooms, green garlic, wild ramps, fennel, leeks, young lettuces and citruses are most suitable pairings. Other complimentary ingredients include olive oil, aged cheese, bacon, sausage, lamb, prosciutto, cream, eggs, butter, shallots, and fresh herbs. Asparagus works well with yeasty breads, like sourdough and wheat, and grains such as aborio rice, quinoa and farro.