Food Focus: Asparagus

Spring is here and with it comes a new selection of vegetables from the farms. Asparagus, for one, is a sure sign of spring. Only harvested from the end of March through early June, now is the time to get it at its best! I was a late-blooming fan of asparagus myself as my memories of it as a kid are of mushy, grey bite-sized pieces that came from a can. Do yourself and your family a favor and add fresh asparagus to your plates this spring!

asparagus up closefreeimage-5160437Asparagus is a perennial plant that actually comes in three colors, although green is by far the most common in the United States. White asparagus, which can be less bitter and much more tender, is very popular in the Netherlands, Spain, France, Poland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. Purple asparagus, originally developed in Italy, is an extra sweet and tender variety that turns green when cooked.

Asparagus is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Although not exactly dinner table conversation, everyone knows how asparagus can affect the smell of urine. According to research, the onset of the asparagus urine smell is very quick, estimated to start 15 to 30 minutes after eating. Perhaps introducing that as an experiment could be a good way to entice reluctant kids to try this healthy food!

Asparagus can be cooked in many way – steamed, sautéed, roasted, grilled and more!

Here are a few simple ways to cook asparagus:

Grill it!

Sauté it!

Make it Fancy!

More Nutritional Data here

 

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