Utilize these tips on how to select and store asparagus properly to help it last longer.
Asparagus is most widely available from February to June, with April being the peak.
Did you know? Size isn’t an indicator of quality or flavor; thick asparagus is just more mature than the thin variety. Instead, look for firm, straight, and plump stalks of asparagus vibrant in color. Avoid stems that are very firm, woody, and cracked. This is a sign of aging and drying out.
The tips, also called the buds, of asparagus, are just as important to pay attention to as the stalks. Look for asparagus tips that a tight and firm with a hint of dark green and purple color to them.
Notice that in the produce department or at the farmer’s market, the asparagus bunches are rubber-banded and lined up in a trough of water? If not and just lined up on the shelf, the asparagus has already started drying out resulting in more to trim off and less to eat, when ready to use.
There is nothing worse that taking out asparagus from the vegetable crisper to find either limp or dried out asparagus.
Asparagus will keep for a week or more in the refrigerator if stored properly. Treat asparagus like flowers, needing to be kept upright and moist in water to stay fresh.
The Best Way to Store Asparagus
Right when you bring home asparagus from the grocery store or farmer’s market, trim about an inch off the ends of the asparagus.
Stand the asparagus up in a glass jar and pour about an inch or two of water at the bottom, making sure all the ends are sitting in the water.
Loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. If the water looks cloudy, just change it as needed.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus, being packed with antioxidants is one of the top-ranked fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This may help slow the aging process and reduce inflammation.
The green veggie is packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber.
The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.
New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips of efficiently using your Instant Pot.
While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.
Don’t fear the yolk!
One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!
Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.
Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.
Why the Instant Pot method works:
Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:
“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.
Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.
Hard Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create into delicious recipes throughout the week.
A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:
Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.
Looking for more recipe ideas?
Go for a traditional cobb salad but switch up your greens with a Kale Cobb Salad
Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.
For soft-boiled: Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
For hard-boiled: Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
Turn the kitchen lights down, light some scented candles, and get your kale ready for a relaxing massage. I know it sounds silly to massage kale, but trust me you’ll never NOT massage your kale again after reading this post.
Have you ever prepared or order a kale salad and chew on the same bite which seems to last a lifetime? Kale is very fibrous and can leave you chewing until your jaw starts to numb. This happens when the kale hasn’t been treated properly. This treatment comes in the form of a massage. While it might seem a bit odd to massage your food, you’d be amazed at what a quick five-minute rubdown can do to transform this green from being bitter and tough to turning silky and sweet.
Kale is a strong, sturdy, and bitter green that can withstand growing in the cold winters. Kale was once only used as a garnish but then labeled as a “superfood” in recent years. It was used as a garnish because of its structure. The bright green leaves would withstand long hours on the buffet table, while still looking fresh and providing that pop of color. Why? Because of its tough cellulose structure.
Massaging kale is easy to do. Remove any thick fibrous ribs of the kale leaves. Take bunches of kale leaves in both hands and rub them together. Work your fingers on each leave. You’ll start to notice a visible change right away. The leaves will darken and yield, softer, shinier, and tender sweet pieces of kale.
Nutrition to know:
Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids (lutein and beta-carotene), with more than 45 flavonoids, particularly kaempferol, and other phytonutrients like quercetin, which helps combat inflammation. Kale has twice the vitamin K as other cruciferous vegetables.
Did you know? Kale has more vitamin C than an orange! One cup of chopped kale has 134 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, while a medium orange has 113 percent. Kale is also packed with vitamin A! A one-cup serving of kale contains over 200% of our vitamin A recommendation in the form of beta carotene.
Meal prep tip:
Since kale has such a sturdy structure, wash, trim, and massage kale for the week. Fresh kale can stay fresh for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
Ever notice the yellow/orange color on the edges as kale ages? It’s not necessarily going bad, but chlorophyll green color is breaking down and shows the rich vitamin A & C color along the edges.
Learning the simple culinary technique of segmenting citrus, can elevate your culinary skills and your recipes. You’ll be surprised how easy it is how to segment citrus fruit.
All citrus fruit is simply delicious to eat as is, but when adding to recipes, removing the pith and membrane of the citrus also eliminates the bitterness that comes along with citrus fruits.
The culinary technique for segmenting citrus is also known as “suprême”, which is just a fancy name for this simple technique! Segmenting citrus removes the tough and bitter components of the citrus, leaving sweeter, more tender, and attractive pieces of citrus. Add them to a recipe and the citrus color will make your dish pop with color. The delicate pieces of citrus will just melt in your mouth.
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