To keep asparagus fresh, cut 1/2 inch off of the base of the stalk and stand the asparagus upright in an inch of warm water (do not let the tips soak in water!). This will also revive asparagus that looks wilted and limp.
For an elegant appetizer or spring salad, steam asparagus, sprinkle with red wine or Balsamic vinegar and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with chopped toasted almonds.
Today's asparagus has been bred from wild plants that were native to western and central Asia and central Europe.
Asparagus has always been considered a luxury vegetable, highly prized in ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece. In Europe, its popularity flourished under the reign of Louis XIV of France, a devotee who encouraged its production.