One of my favorite spring greens at your local market right now is asparagus. Asparagus is a superstar vegetable high in anti-oxidants, nutrients and a special kind of fiber that supports a healthy belly.
Appreciation for this delicate vegetable dates back to Roman times when fleets of ships were sent to gather asparagus for their emperors. Known as “the aristocrat of vegetables” it is delicate, slender and flavorful.
There are over 300 varieties of asparagus but only 20 of them are edible. They fall into three categories: green, white and purple. Green asparagus are a springtime favorite and in abundance at local markets. White asparagus are less common, less flavorful and more expensive than the other 2 varieties. Purple asparagus are small and fiber-free. People often opt to enjoy the purple variety raw.
The amazing health benefits of asparagus:
- Contains the soluble fiber inulin, which supports the healthy bacteria in your lower intestines
- High in dietary fiber to promote good digestive health
- Contains more of superstar antioxidant glutathione than any other vegetable
- Is a natural diuretic, which is great for treating water retention (PMS) and problems with swelling
- Rich in B-vitamin folate, which is great for fetal health, heart health & the prevention of dementia
Selecting and storing asparagus:
Asparagus are a spring vegetable with a peak season of April – May, though the growing season does extend into July in some areas of the US (the East and Midwest).
Choose asparagus with a bright color and closed tips. Avoid yellowish spears.
I’m often asked the question: Are the best asparagus spears thick or thin? In my opinion, the best option is in the middle! Spears that are too thin will cook way too fast and are easy to overcook. Spears that are too thick are woody, tough and stringy.
Asparagus will remain fresh for up to 7 days when properly stored. Wrap fresh asparagus tightly in a bag and refrigerate. Avoid washing until just prior to using or the asparagus may spoil.
Quick prep ideas:
- Roast or broil asparagus in the oven with olive oil and sea salt
- Grill asparagus seasoned with lemon, sea salt and pepper
- Add raw asparagus, sliced thinly, to your favorite salad recipe.
- Or, try adding cooked asparagus to salads. Here’s my delicious recipe for Spinach Salad with Asparagus & Strawberries
Your Simple Action Plan:
This week, add asparagus to your weekly menu. What’s your favorite way to cook asparagus? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!