Healthy foods: How to Cook Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus Recipe

1 lb fresh asparagus
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 minced shallot or 1/4 minced onion

1. Coat asparagus with 1 tbs of olive oil.
2. Grill on hot heat for 2-3 minutes and place on platter.
3. Whisk balsamic vineger, shallot and 1tbs olive oil in bowl and drizzle over grilled asparagus.

Packed with nutrients, asparagus is a tasty treat this time of year. Asparagus is one of the first vegetables ready to harvest in spring and although it's available as early as February, April-May is the peak season.

Very rich in folic acid and glutathione (a powerful cancer-fighting compound according to the National Cancer Institute), asparagus is also a good source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin B-6, Vitamins A and C, iron, thiamin and fiber. It contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium.

Part of the lily family, asparagus is native to the Mediterranean and was eaten by ancient Greeks. Today, China and Peru are the largest producers and exporters of asparagus, followed by the United States and Mexico. Wild asparagus can often be seen growing by roads and railroad tracks.

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Asparagus varieties and selection

Asparagus can be found in white and green varieties; green is most common in North America, while white is popular in Europe. White asparagus is grown under the soil so that the plant doesn't produce chlorophyll, which gives asparagus its green color. Planting Note: If you're thinking of growing asparagus in your garden -- it should be planted initially in autumn. After that, it will continue to come up each spring on its own.

When selecting asparagus, choose firm, tender stalks. For green varieties, choose stalks with deep green or purplish tips that are closed and compact.

preparing fresh asparagus

How to Store Asparagus

Because asparagus is highly perishable, eat it soon after purchasing. To store, wrap the stalk bottoms with a damp paper towel and place in the crisper for up to four days.

Cooking Asparagus

White asparagus should be cooked until completely tender but the green variety can be lightly steamed, stir-fried or cooked in the microwave. You can even enjoy it grilled.

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Showing comment(s)
June 10, 2012
Even though I had reservations, we have been buying the regular (non-organic) asparagus since it is so much cheaper than organic. What a relief to see that the Environment Working Group includes asparagus on the Clean 15 list of the foods that they've determined to normally be lowest in pesticide residue. So, when it is priced right, I think this makes it one of the healthier fresh vegetable choices at the regular grocery store.
July 04, 2012
I was searching for how long to grill asparagus and came across your article. You didn't give much in terms of grilling directions so here is what I've found: lightly brush, toss or spray the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on medium heat and turn as needed to prevent burning. You may need to place them on a rack or skewer a row of them together to prevent them from falling between the BBQ grill. They should be tender and ready in about 7 minutes.
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