Cooking with Asparagus

Cooking with Asparagus

(Asparagus officinalis) A member of the lily family, asparagus is a native of Europe and has been cultivated since the time of the ancient Greeks. However, some of the best asparagus could be found in the markets of Thailand too, where it is highly regarded and called nor mai farang (foreign bamboo shoot). No longer is European style asparagus polonaise or asparagus with hollandaise sauce the preferred method of serving this delightfully flavored and tender shoot. Instead, it could be cooked in Thai style with garlic, chilies and green peppercorns or even Chinese style, in a sauce delicate enough to let the asparagus flavor shine through.

Purchasing and storing : Make sure the tips of the spears are dry and have no odor. Look at the base of the spears to make sure they are not withered. Freshness is of paramount importance. If these criteria are met, it does not matter if the spears are thin or thick - both can be tender and flavorful. If they have to be kept for a few days, stand them upright in a beaker with 1 cm water in the refrigerator. Cover with a plastic bag and fasten with a rubber band around the container.

Medicinal uses : The part of the plant used in herbal medicine is the root. It has been recommended for dropsy, enlargement of the heart, etc. The fresh expressed juice is taken in tablespoonful doses. More palatable in the form of a syrup and is used as such in doses of 1-2 tablespoonfuls.

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