In season vegetables are often, best prepared in a simple fashion, but people seem to screw this up regularly. Asparagus is in it’s prime this time of the year and often, I’m asked how I prepare it. To be honest with you, I don’t do much. Full disclosure: I like it that way.
Veggie pro-tip (that you already know): asparagus can have woody ends where it was cut during it’s harvest. Do yourself a favor and individually snap each end off of your asparagus. I see people cutting them off, this can end badly. First off, if you have gotten a fresher bunch of asparagus, blindly cutting off the ends could mean you are actually cutting into a perfectly edible tender part of the vegetable. On the other hand, if you cut into the woody end of an older bunch of asparagus, you could end up leaving some of the tough stem on, and your asparagus side dish will not be delicious or a pleasure to eat. Also, I see people who snap one end, then cut the rest to size. Not a good idea, I’m telling you. Again, you’re either wasting, or potentially not cutting enough of that woody inedible stem off. Don’t do it. Snap them all.
To snap: Place two fingertips and your thumb on the last couple of inches of the asparagus. Bend gently until the asparagus snaps. Repeat.
Do you wash your fruits and veggies prior to eating them?
It is a good practice to do this. Think of how many hands have touched your produce at the grocery store? Yikes. A simple rinse with water helps and sometimes a bit of vinegar and water in a bowl helps extend the refrigerator life of berries, for example. (I use 1/2 cup vinegar to 1/2 gallon of water.) For storing, just make sure you properly dry your washed produce. It will keep longer, pinky swear. With 70 billion pounds of our food being wasted a year, sparing as much food as a person can is crucial.
Also, if I may… something has been grinding my gears, for a while now. If you know me at all, you know I absolutely detest food-fear-mongerers and fear-mongering food marketing tactics (labeling, etc.). I am pro-food-choice, as Katie Pinke of “The Pinke Post” states in her great article here. I think we should be able purchase what we can to feed our families on whatever budget that we have. Moreover, we should be able to do this without judgment. WITHOUT judgment. ZERO judgment.
I have read many articles lately and have had interactions with three completely different lifestyle bloggers recently that turned my stomach a bit, two of which I’ll share. And to be quite honest, go against common sense if you ask me.
#1: “…if you cannot purchase organic produce, conventional produce will have to do, but you do need to wash it.”
Both types of produce need to be washed. Regardless of method of production.
#2: “… I actually buy organic bagged spinach to add to my smoothies so I don’t have to wash it.” (This was a direct message after I had asked this specific blogger how she washed her bagged greens and kept them fresher, longer.)
*Most people are aware that organic production has approved and utilized pesticides too. I thought this advice was particularly poor.
(For the sake of anonymity and the fact that I don’t have time and energy to deal with people who feel bad that I called them out, I’m going to forego citing the sources of these quotes. Sorry.)
Seriously people? Everyone needs to wash their produce. Organic, conventional, grown with frickin’-fairy-angel-sparkles, WASH. YOUR. FOOD. It is a good practice in preserving your food, if you can’t eat it all right away. Wash up those foods, because who wants germs from every booger-fingered kid at the grocery store, that happened to fondle the gorgeous Honeycrisp apple you just put in your work lunch box?
I don’t care what you buy, what you can or cannot afford. Eating fruits and vegetables is important. Don’t ever let anyone bully you into feeling bad for the food choices you make to feed your family, and shame on you if you cast judgment on anyone based on their food choices. (ie: $5.99 organic strawberries or $2.99 conventional strawberries) We can only purchase what we can, with the budget that we have. We’re certainly lucky to live in a country with a safe and abundant food supply.
Eat your veggies.
Easy Classic Asparagus
by: Cristen foodandswine.com
Makes 2-4 servings
1 1/4 cups hot water
1 – 1# bunch of asparagus, wooden ends snapped off
2 TBSP butter
1/4-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Ground black pepper (optional)
In a large skillet over high heat, add water and asparagus. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 2-3 minutes for thin stalks of asparagus, 5-6 minutes for very thick stalks of asparagus. The goal is to have the vegetable be tender yet crisp. If water has not evaporated at the end of the cooking time, simply drain it away. Add butter, toss until incorporated. Sprinkle with kosher salt, serve warm.