This delightful veggie is in season now! Although green asparagus is most popular and widely available, keep your eyes peeled for purple and white varieties too (white asparagus is grown underground and isn’t exposed to sunlight). No matter what color you choose, here are the whys and hows of enjoying asparagus.

Nutrition Facts

One-half cup of cooked asparagus has 20 calories and 2 grams of fiber. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K and folate, which is important for new cell growth—pretty interesting since it’s now spring—a time of new growth. Folate also has been shown to have heart health benefits. Asparagus also a good source of thiamin and vitamins A and C.

On top of that, asparagus provides the flavonoid rutin, a plant chemical that’s been shown to help reduce inflammation.

Buying & Storage Tips

Look for asparagus that’s firm, straight with bright green stalks with tightly closed tips. Avoid those that are dry, wrinkled, or with ruffled tips. Choose spears that have an even thickness so they’ll cook evenly. Once you get home, stand fresh asparagus in about an inch of water and cover with a plastic bag or wrap the stems in a wet paper towel and cover asparagus with a plastic bag. Use within 2 to 3 days.

Prep & Cooking Tips

–Wash well since the tips can be sandy.

–Remove and discard the woody ends or peel them down to their tender center.

–One pound equals 16 to 20 spears, or about two cups chopped.

–To steam, lay flat in a large steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes.

–To grill, toss asparagus in 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat grill and place asparagus in a grill basket.

–Grill until tender, about 8 minutes.

–To roast, pre-heat oven to 400 degree F. Toss in 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Place asparagus on a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.

Delicious Ways To Enjoy Asparagus

–Chill spears and serve with dip as a crudité.

–Chop and use in an omelet.

–Wrap with prosciutto as an appetizer or snack.

–Add a spritz of lemon juice, chopped tender herbs like tarragon or parsley, salt, and pepper to cooked asparagus as a quick and easy side.

–Add sliced asparagus to a pasta salad, risotto or stir-fry.

–Pile cooked asparagus on your sandwich for lunch.

Recipes To Enjoy

Asparagus with Mimosa Topping (pictured above)

Fettuccine with Crab and Asparagus

 

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