The vegetable asparagus actually forms part of the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. It’s a delicacy that is worth purchasing as it has a distinct and intense yet surprisingly savoury flavour; a unique taste that is unrivaled by any other vegetable.
Asparagus farming is labour-intensive, especially for white spears that are characteristically sweeter in taste in comparison to the green spears. These are usually sold in canned form although some gourmet food stores supply fresh white asparagus. These succulent spears provide a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients including Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, Vitamin E and Zinc, which are all essential when following a healthy diet.
The season for fresh asparagus lasts from the end of August into November, with crops continuing to grow for up to 90 days. Between September and December is the best time of year for growing your own asparagus spears.
How to choose?
Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look out for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips.
How to prepare?
Thin asparagus does not require peeling but thick stemmed stalks should be peeled as the stems are usually quite tough. Wash the asparagus under cold water to remove any sand or soil residue. Remember that it’s best to cook asparagus whole.
- Cold asparagus can be added to your favourite salad or with cooked pasta, olive oil and aromatic pasta spices.
- Enjoy healthy sautéed asparagus whereby you heat 5 tablespoons of broth in a stainless steel skillet. Once the liquid begins to boil, add whole asparagus and sauté (lightly fry) for 5 minutes.
- Asparagus can be chopped into omelettes too!
How to store?
Always keep the vegetable cool and damp. Wrap it in damp kitchen paper, put it in a plastic bag and keep it in the salad drawer of the fridge. Alternatively, you can store it in a glass or jug of cold water in the fridge.
Per 100 grams:
- Sodium 2 mg,
- Potassium 202 mg,
- Dietary fiber 2,1 g, and
- Protein 2,2 g.
If you’re looking for more information on healthy seasonal ingredients that can be added to your healthy eating plan, be sure to take a look at Flora’s list of seasonal ingredients.