Artichokes Jerusalem see Sunchoke Asparagus

Identification: Spear-shaped new shoot or stem that emerges from the plant's roots in the spring.The pointed spear tip sprouts branches when the shoot is left to grow.

Related Varieties: White asparagus is the same plant as green, but soil is mounded over the shoots, protecting from the sun so they do not turn green. In Europe, white asparagus is more common than green.The flavor is milder than that of green, although North American white asparagus is usually more bitter than European. Purple asparagus turns dark green when cooked. It is tender and sweet. Evaluation: Look for tightly closed tips; firm, not withered, stalks. For white asparagus, buy only product that has been kept chilled for its entire storage time;unchilled white asparagus becomes fibrous.

Figure 16.3 Trimming asparagus.

Figure 16.3 Trimming asparagus.

(a) With a vegetable peeler, pare the stalk from about 2 in. (5 cm) below the tip down to the base.

(b) Cut or break off the hard, woody bottoms of the stems.

Figure 16.4 Preparing avocados.

Preparation: Break off woody lower ends. Remove lower scales, which may harbor sand, or peel lower part of stalk. Figure 16.3 shows an alternative method. Cut tips to uniform lengths and/or tie them in bundles for cooking.White asparagus should be peeled the entire length of the stalk. Purple asparagus needs no peeling; just trim the bottoms. Percentage Yield: 55% (green,peeled)

(c) Another method used by many chefs is to break off the stems first . . .

(c) Another method used by many chefs is to break off the stems first . . .

Avocados

Identification: The egg-shaped fruit of a small tree, with a leathery skin, tender, pale-green flesh, and a single large seed or pit in the center.

Related Varieties: There are several varieties that fall into two main categories: (1) The Mexican or Californian avocados,mostly the Hass variety, that have rough dark green skins that turn black when ripe.These have a rich, buttery flesh with a high oil content. (2) The West Indian or Florida type, with smoother skins that remain green.These are juicier and have a lower oil content.

Evaluation: Look for fresh appearance;fruit heavy for size;no blemishes or bruises.

Preparation: Ripen at room temperature, 2-5 days. Cut in half lengthwise and remove pit (see Figure 16.4). Peel (skin pulls away easily from ripe fruit). Dip or rub with lemon juice immediately to prevent browning.

Percentage Yield: 75%

Figure 16.4 Preparing avocados.

(a) To remove the pit or seed from the cut avocado, strike it (b) Twist the knife slightly and pull out the pit.

sharply (but carefully) with the heel of a chef's knife.

(a) To remove the pit or seed from the cut avocado, strike it (b) Twist the knife slightly and pull out the pit.

sharply (but carefully) with the heel of a chef's knife.

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