Asparagus belongs to the Lily family, and has been around for over 2000 years. While there are about 300 different varieties, only 20 are edible. It is often thought of a luxury vegetable with its tender texture and succulent taste. The most common variety is green and harvested in the spring.
Asparagus is best when eaten as soon as possible after harvesting. You want your asparagus to be bright green with no signs of shriveling, the tips to should be firm and tight and the cut end should be thick and fibrous. No part of the stalk should be mushy. You can store your asparagus in a produce bag in your refrigerator’s vegetable bin, but it may end up bruised, broken or worse, forgotten. The best way to store it is like flowers. You want to trim the cut ends, stand them in a glass of water, cover with plastic and put in your refrigerator. Asparagus will last for about 2 days before the taste and texture start to diminish. Since you have limited time to enjoy all this green goodness, it is important to make the most of it. You need to wash the asparagus, but never soak it. Just hold the stalks upside down under cold water and give them a shake. Once they are clean, you want to snap off the tough, fibrous ends. Asparagus can be boiled, nuked, roasted or grilled. You can even eat it raw by slicing it thin and throwing it in salad or serving it with your favorite dip instead of chips. Asparagus could be considered a high maintenance veggie, but it is so worth it. Remember the best rule of thumb, concerning asparagus, is to buy fresh and eat fast!
Asparagus spears are filled with loads of nutritional goodness and health benefits. As a matter of fact, this vegetable is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables out there. Here are the main reasons why it is so powerful:
- It has a wide array of nutrients that are in significant enough amounts to make a real difference as part of a healthy diet. Asparagus is low in calories (only 4 calories per spear), very low in sodium and an excellent source of folacin. In addition, it will provide you with a good amount of thiamin, vitamin B6, fiber and rutin (this compound strengthens your capillary walls). And these are just the biggest ones.
- Since it is a herbaceous plant, it is rich in glutathione, a detoxify compound that helps break down carcinogens. It is like the spears jab at the cancer cells.
- It is packed with antioxidants, which help stop cell damage and maybe even slow down the aging process. Who doesn’t want that to happen?
- The huge amounts of folate in asparagus work with vitamin B12 (found in fish, poultry, meat ad dairy) to keep our brains fast and flexible.
- Asparagus contains an amino acid that is a natural diuretic, which helps rid your body of excess salt.
You can see that asparagus will not only keep you healthy, but maybe even young and beautiful! So this weekend, why not hit your local farmer’s market and enjoy a Real Bite of Real Bite Salmon & Spring Vegetables.