Spring is here! This not only means warmer temperatures, but also the beginning of asparagus season. Asparagus is in season from April to May, although it may be available until July in the Midwest and East. It is harvested when the spears reach 6-8 inches in length. The most common type of asparagus is green, but you can also find white or purple varieties at the market. This color variation is simply a result of different growing practices.
Important characteristics that make asparagus a superfood:
- They are a great source of vitamin K, which is important for strong bones and blood clotting.
- Asparagus are also high in B vitamins, which help your body turn the food you eat into energy to keep you going.
- Asparagus contain high fiber content which help keep your digestive system running smoothly.
- great source of antioxidants, which may help protect against cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases
- They are found on the “clean 15” list developed by the Environmental Working Group, making it less likely to contain pesticide residues.
Choosing the perfect bunch of asparagus:
- Overall appearance should be straight and thin.
- Tips should be firm and dark green or purplish (health hack: If they look slimy, they are old. The ends may feel a little woody, but don’t purchase it if the entire stalk seems this way).
- Wash thoroughly.
- Next, cut a few inches off of the bottom and discard the ends, as they tend to have a woody texture.
- One simple way to cook asparagus is to roast it in the oven.
- Begin by setting your oven to 400°F.
- Coat one bunch of asparagus in one tablespoon of olive oil, spread the spears out on a baking sheet and place in the heated oven for 15-20 minutes, turning the asparagus once after 7-10 minutes.
Concerns regarding asparagus: Some people, about one-quarter of the population, notice their urine has an odor after eating asparagus. There is no need to worry as this is completely normal and has to do with the breakdown of certain chemical compounds during digestion.
Asparagus is a versatile vegetable, which can be incorporated into a meal in several different ways, whether it is part of a main entrée or prepared as a side dish. It can be tossed into a pasta dish, folded into an omelet, or stir-fried plain as a side dish or with chicken for a main course, making it an excellent addition to any meal.