Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables in the U.S., and for good reason. Equally tasty and healthy, asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables on the market and taste greats both raw and in an array of cooked recipes.
- ...helps detoxify. Asparagus stimulates the metabolism and helps the body flush out toxins.
- ...are a great source of folic acid. A 500-gram portion of asparagus covers about half of your daily folic acid requirement. This B group vitamin promotes cell renewal and blood formation.
- ...can help with weight loss. A large portion of asparagus (500 grams) contains only 85 calories and 0.5 grams of fat.
- ...is healthier the more colorful it is. Green asparagus is even healthier than white asparagus because it contains vitamin A, which supports healthy skin and vision. The rare purple asparagus offers plenty of anthocyanins, natural coloring agents which can fight free radicals.
- isn't for everyone. If you have kidney problems or are prone to gout, it is better to avoid asparagus because of its relatively high purine content.
What You Should Know About Asparagus
The start of the asparagus season is cause for celebration for many professional and home chefs. The tender, delicately-flavored vegetable is incredibly versatile and healthy.
While its still unknown where exactly asparagus originates from, somewhere in Eastern Europe is suspected. Today, asparagus is native to the whole of Europe, North Africa and parts of the northern U.S.
Asparagus season generally begins in early to mid-May and runs through the end of June.
How Healthy Is Asparagus?
Naturopaths have long championed asparagus, and for good reason. The abundant asparagine acid and high potassium content in asparagus stimulates the metabolism, helps cleanse the blood, flushes toxins out of the body and also supports liver, lung and kidney function.
Eat just a 500 gram serving of asparagus, and you’ve already covered about half of your daily folic acid requirement. This B group vitamin promotes cell renewal and healthy blood. The high levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese in asparagus also comprise more than 300 enzymes that helps strengthen the entire body.
Anyone suffering from kidney stones or elevated uric acid levels in the blood should eat asparagus sparingly.
|Asparagus Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
When buying asparagus, make sure that the stalks are as spotless and straight as possible. The ends should look fresh and shiny-- dried-up ends are a sign of inferior quality.
Asparagus tastes much better the fresher it is. If need be, you can store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp kitchen towel for 3-4 days.
After washing with warm water, remove the asparagus’ tough ends with a knife. You can also remove them by hand-- simply hold each end of the asparagus and snap. The dead end of the asparagus will come off easily.
What To Make With Asparagus
Asparagus is delicious no matter how you prepare it-- steamed, grilled, pureed into a sou or even raw.
It doesn't take much time or seasoning to make asparagus taste delicious: simply throw in half to a whole teaspoon of salt per litre of cooking water and cook for 10-25 minutes to get perfectly boiled asparagus. Some people also like lemon in the cooking water - but it shouldn't be more than a touch, otherwise the taste of the asparagus won't be able to assert itself properly. A little butter in the pot, on the other hand, does no harm and enhances the fine flavour. When boiling asparagus, ensure you’re using a pot that doesn’t have aluminum, as the metal can react with the asparagus to discolor the vegetable.
Asparagus is delicious paired with meats, from cured hams in an appetizer to a perfect side dish with pork or beef dishes.