In honor of National Asparagus Month why not try some new asparagus recipes. In season asparagus is an affordable way to add nutrition to your meals.
Asparagus Nutrition Facts
Five spears of asparagus provides 400 milligrams of potassium, three grams of fiber, 60% of the daily recommendation of folate and is also an excellent source of thiamin and vitamin B6. The 5 spears contain only 20 calories, have no fat or cholesterol and only five milligrams of sodium. Asparagus is known to be a heart healthy food.
Stalks and tips should be a green to purplish color. Avoid limp or wilted stalks, they should be firm and able to break by using your hands to snap the stalk. Make sure the produce is odorless. The tips of the asparagus should be dry, compact and closed. Keep in mind that the thicker the stalk is, the tougher it will be. Choose stalks that are thinner, so they are more tender.
Store unwashed asparagus by wrapping the ends of the stalks in a wet paper towel and placing them in a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days. Rinse under cold running water before cooking or eating.
Cooking Methods: Rinse asparagus under a stream of cool water and snap off the bottoms at their natural breaking point.
- Microwave: Cut spears into bite-size pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl with ½ cup water. Cover and cook on high at 1 minute intervals until bright green and just tender.
- Steam: Fill a saucepan with about 1 inch of water and insert steamer basket. Bring water to a boil and put asparagus into the steamer. Steam for about 5-7 minutes until bright green and crisp.
- Boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons of salt. Immerse the asparagus in the water and blanch for 2 ½-3 minutes. The asparagus should be crisp and bright green. Serve hot or plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Sauté: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or butter in a saucepan on medium to high heat. Add the cut asparagus or whole spears to the pan. Sauté until bright green.
- Roast: Heat oven to 400°F. Lay asparagus flat on an oven safe baking sheet or pan and drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Season with minced garlic and pepper or your favorite seasoning to taste. Roast for 12 minutes.
- Grill: Cut asparagus as desired and place in large bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat each piece. Add seasoning to taste. Place on a hot grill for about 90 seconds on each side.