ARTICLE / KITCHEN TIPS

The Complete Guide to Asparagus

From late February to the middle of June, asparagus is the go-to fresh vegetable for lightening spring and summer meals. Roasted, grilled, pan-fried or in a quiche — this guide gives you tips and ideas for working with asparagus.

How is asparagus grown?

Asparagus is grown in shallow beds about a foot deep. Asparagus is grown from “crowns” which look kind of like knots with giant root systems extending from them. The asparagus stalks sprout from the top of the crowns above ground with the roots sprawling underground.

Where is asparagus grown?

Asparagus is grown in China, Peru, Mexico, and the United States. In the United States, asparagus is grown in New Jersey, California, Illinois, Washington, and Michigan.

When is asparagus in season?

Asparagus is in season starting in February and harvest slows down in June. However, Michigan grows the most asparagus in the United States where harvest starts around late April which happens to be the peak of Asparagus season.

What types/varieties of asparagus are there?

There are many different types of asparagus. The variety of asparagus that most commonly found at grocery stores is the UC 157 which is a hybrid variety which does well in warmer climates with mild winters, but there are several others:

TypeCharacteristics
Mary Washingtonan heirloom asparagus that is also very common and does well in cooler climates
Purple Passionthe purple asparagus the sweeter of asparagus varieties which is purple at harvest but loses the color when it’s cooked
Viking KBCis a high-yield variety
Apollocan grow in warm and cool climates
Princevillegrows well in warmer climates
Precoce D’Argenteuilan heirloom asparagus with sweet flavors
Jersey Giantgrows well in cooler climates
Jersey Knightnot susceptible to disease
Jersey Supremedisease resistant
Atlasgrows well in warmer climates

When is asparagus harvested?

Asparagus is harvested in California from February to June, but in Michigan, asparagus is harvested starting in April and continues through June.

Is asparagus good for cancer?

Asparagus can be good for reducing the risk of cancer, but it will not cure cancer. Asparagus contains vital nutrients that can help reduce the risk of cancer like folate, beta-carotene, and vitamin C.

Why does asparagus make your pee smell?

Asparagus makes your pee smell because it contains asparagusic acid which occurs in asparagus. Our digestive system deconstructs the nutrients and groups asparagusic acid with compounds containing sulfur which makes it stinky.

Can asparagus be eaten raw?

Asparagus can be eaten raw. It makes an excellent component for crudités (raw vegetables served with dressing as an appetizer), but it can also be cut up and tossed with a salad.

Is asparagus a vegetable?

Asparagus is a vegetable from the Asparagaceae family, native to Western Europe. It’s a perennial plant which means it sprouts year after year, unlike annuals which die out after one planting.

Can you eat asparagus when pregnant?

You can eat asparagus when pregnant, in fact, it’s very good for pregnancy. It contains folate and iron which are major components of common prenatal vitamins.

Can babies eat asparagus?

Babies can eat asparagus starting at 6 months if it’s cooked and pureed. However, just like adults, asparagus may make a baby’s urine smell.

What are the health benefits of asparagus?

There are many health benefits associated with asparagus:

  • Asparagus contains a lot of fiber which helps with digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to your stool to help it move quickly through your digestive tract.
  • Asparagus contains a lot of potassium which helps lower blood pressure by helping remove excess salt from the body as well as calms blood vessels.
  • Asparagus also contains asparaptine which has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
  • Asparagus contains a lot of folate and iron which make it good to eat before and during pregnancy.
  • Asparagus contains cancer-fighting nutrients

What is the nutritional value of asparagus?

In addition to vitamin K, folate, fiber, and vitamin C, it contains about 20 other nutrients to help your body run smoothly. Some of the major vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin E is good for healthy skin, eyes, and immune system
  • Copper is for producing red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells.
  • Vitamin B1 is essential for heart function as well as muscles and nerves.
  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is good for boosting your energy.
  • Selenium is essential for thyroid function and supports the immune system.

Is asparagus good for you?

Is asparagus is good for you on many levels. Not only does it contain vital nutrients like vitamin B1 and folate, but it’s also low in calories and contains fiber which, together, is good for weight loss. It also contains folate and iron which are important for pregnancy. Additionally, it contains asparaptine and potassium which have shown to lower blood pressure.

Which part of asparagus is healthiest?

The healthiest part of asparagus is the whole stalk. It’s a fairly small vegetable, so you only trim the ends and peel them to make them more pleasant to eat because the ends tend to be more fibrous and a bit tougher than the rest of the stalk and the tip.

How many calories are in asparagus?

There are three calories in a medium spear of asparagus.

What vitamins are in asparagus?

Asparagus contains vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B3, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. But asparagus contains several other vital nutrients.

How many carbs are in asparagus?

A medium-sized spear of asparagus contains .6 g of carbs.

How much protein is in asparagus?

A medium-sized asparagus spear contains .4 g of protein.

How much potassium is in asparagus?

There are 32 mg of potassium in a medium-sized spear of asparagus.

How much fiber is in asparagus?

There is .3 g of dietary fiber in asparagus.

Is there vitamin K in asparagus?

Asparagus is high in vitamin K. There are 41.6 mcg of vitamin K in asparagus.

Does asparagus have fiber?

There is a lot of fiber in asparagus. Asparagus contains .3 g of dietary fiber in a medium-sized spear which is only slightly less than broccoli.

Does asparagus have iron?

Asparagus is high in iron. Asparagus contains .3 mg of iron in a medium-sized spear.

Does asparagus have sugar?

Asparagus contains about .3g sugar in a medium-sized stalk.

Is asparagus keto friendly?

Asparagus is widely considered a keto-friendly vegetable because it is low-carb and has a lot of vital nutrients.

Is asparagus vegan?

Asparagus is a naturally vegan food.

Is asparagus low fodmap?

No, asparagus is not a low-FODMAP vegetable. Asparagus is considered a high-FODMAP vegetable.

Does asparagus fight cancer?

Asparagus contains a lot of nutrients that have shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Asparagus also contains anti-inflammatories as well as antioxidant nutrients.

Nutrition FactsAsparagus (1 spear, 7"
Calorie3
Total Fat0
Potassium32 mg
Total Carbohydrate0.6 g
Dietary fiber0.3 g
Sugar0.3 g
Protein0.4 g
Vitamin A2% Daily Value
Vitamin C1% Daily Value
Iron1% Daily Value

Buying asparagus

How do you buy fresh asparagus?

When you’re buying asparagus, the most important thing to look for is whether or not they’re dry. The best indicators are the “petals” and how rigid the overall stalk is. The petals should be closed and appear moist and the stalks should be stiff.

How do you buy frozen asparagus?

Frozen asparagus can be bought as whole stalks or cut up, but it’s all available in bags in the grocery store freezer section. The different bags that frozen asparagus are designed for different purposes. Some are plastic and are meant only for storage, but some bags are designed so that you can use them in the microwave to steam the asparagus.

Is canned asparagus fresh?

Canned asparagus is not fresh, however, the canning processes uses fresh asparagus in liquid and preservatives to be stored for later consumption.

How do you buy white asparagus?

You can buy white asparagus in a jar, a can, or frozen, all of which are very good options. If you are buying fresh white asparagus, follow the same guidelines as regular asparagus: make sure the petals at the tip are closed and moist and the stalk is firm.

How much does asparagus cost?

Asparagus costs about $4 per pound if you’re buying fresh asparagus in season. Organic asparagus costs about $7 per pound. Frozen asparagus costs about $5 for an 8 oz bag. Canned asparagus costs about $2.50 for a 14.5 oz can. Fresh white asparagus costs about $30 per pound. Jarred, white asparagus $4 for a 12 oz jar.

How do I know if asparagus is fresh?

You can tell if asparagus is fresh by the petals at the tip. If the petals are dark and mushy, it is starting to rot and won’t be edible cooked. If the petals are pulling away from the stalk and appear dry, it’s old and may not taste as good as expected when cooked. The other freshness indicator is its firmness. If the asparagus stalk is firm and straight, it is fresh. If the asparagus stalk is limp and floppy, it’s past its prime.

What is the difference between thin and thick asparagus?

Thin asparagus is grown from a younger crown than thicker asparagus. There’s little difference in the flavor between thin and thick asparagus, but the fibers in thin asparagus are more dense and harder to cut through than thick asparagus stalks.

How is white asparagus different from green asparagus?

The differences between white and green asparagus are flavor, texture, and cultivation. White asparagus is slightly milder in flavor than green asparagus. White asparagus is also more fibrous than green asparagus. However, they are the same in that the crowns for white and green asparagus produce the same stalks, the white asparagus is just grown under ground where there is no light and therefore does not contain chlorophyll which is the green pigment that you get with green asparagus that’s exposed to sunlight.

Storing asparagus

How do you store asparagus?

Store asparagus in water to keep it fresh. It’s best to cut the bottom of the stalks like you would with fresh flowers. Then place them in a tall container with water in the bottom so it can soak up the water. The alternative is to tie a rubberband around the bottoms of your asparagus stalks, wrap them in a wet paper towel and stick the bundle in an unsealed plastic bag.

How long is asparagus good for?

Fresh, uncooked asparagus will stay good in the refrigerator for about five days. Cooked asparagus can last in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about two days.

How do you store asparagus long-term?

Storing asparagus long-term requires some preservation methods. The easiest way to preserve and store asparagus long-term is to blanch and shock it (dunking it in boiling water for a few seconds until it turns bright green and then plunging in ice water) before drying it thoroughly and putting in an airtight container to be frozen. Another way to store asparagus long-term is by pickling it. Quick pickling asparagus only requires water, salt, and vinegar. Put the asparagus in a jar with the other ingredients and you’ll have crunchy, pickled asparagus for a very long time.

What is the appropriate temperature to store asparagus at?

Fresh asparagus should be stored between 35 and 40℉. That is the temperature range your refrigerator should be set to to keep all your food at a safe temperature.

Should you store your asparagus in water?

You should store your asparagus with the bottom of the stalks submerged in water to keep it fresh as long as possible.

How long is asparagus good for in the fridge?

Asparagus stays good in the fridge for 2 to 4 days, if it’s stored properly.

How to store asparagus in fridge

To store asparagus in the fridge, trim the ends of a bunch or asparagus and then tie the stalks together. Place the bunch in a container partially filled with water and refrigerate it with a plastic bag loosely covering it.

How long can raw asparagus sit out?

Raw asparagus can sit out at room temperature for a few hours before it starts to go limp.

Can you freeze asparagus?

You can freeze asparagus to extend its life, if you do it properly.

Is it bad to freeze asparagus?

Freezing asparagus is good to do if you don’t want to eat it right away.

How do you freeze asparagus?

You can freeze fresh asparagus by washing it thoroughly, quickly plunging it in boiling water and then dunking it in ice water. Asparagus should then be dried thoroughly, placed in an airtight container to be frozen.

What is the best way to freeze asparagus?

The best way to freeze asparagus is by blanching (dunking it in boiling water) and shocking it (dunking it in ice water), drying it and placing it in a sealable plastic bag or sealable container.

How long can you store asparagus in the freezer?

Technically, asparagus can be stored in the freezer indefinitely, but it starts to deteriorate after a year. It’s best to keep asparagus in the freezer for up to a year.

Can you freeze fresh asparagus from the grocery store?

You can freeze fresh asparagus from the grocery store if you blanch and shock it before storing in an airtight container.

Can you freeze cooked asparagus?

Cooked asparagus should not be frozen. Asparagus tends to breakdown too much if it’s cooked thoroughly and then frozen. Unless you plan to make a puree of it for something like soup, freezing cooked asparagus should be avoided.

How do you store fresh cut asparagus?

Fresh cut asparagus should be stored in the crisper set at high humidity. To make sure it stays fresh, you can either cut off the ends of the stalks and place them in a container with water in the bottom like a vase of flowers to be placed in the refrigerator, or you can cut off the ends and wrap the bunch in a moist paper towel and put it in a vented plastic bag.

How do you defrost asparagus?

To defrost asparagus, place the stalks with about ¼ cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until cooked through. If you’re using a microwave and asparagus pre-packaged in steamer bags, place the unopened bag in the microwave and heat on high for 4 minutes.

How long is cooked asparagus good for?

Cooked asparagus can last up to 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How long does cooked asparagus last in the fridge?

Cooked asparagus lasts in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Can you store cooked asparagus in the freezer?

You can store cooked asparagus in the freezer if you plan on using it as a puree.

How can you tell asparagus is bad?

You can tell if asparagus is bad by looking at the tips -- if the asparagus tips are slimy, the stalks are starting to rot. If the asparagus tips look dry and the petals are pulling away from the stalks, it’s an indication that the asparagus is not fresh, but still edible.

How to cook asparagus?

Asparagus can be roasted, steamed, grilled, or sauteed.

  • How to cook asparagus by roasting it means tossing it in olive oil, seasoning it, spreading it on a baking sheet and putting it in the oven preheated to 400℉ for 20 minutes.
  • How to cook asparagus by steaming it means filling a stock pot with about two inches of water, bringing it to a boil, and placing a steamer basket of asparagus in the pot for about 7 minutes.
  • How to cook asparagus by grilling it means to toss asparagus spears in olive oil and placing them on the grill on high heat for about 3 minutes.
  • How to cook asparagus by sauteeing it means cutting the asparagus into 1-inch pieces , heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and stirring in the asparagus for about 5 minutes and the asparagus is bright green.

How do you prepare asparagus for cooking?

To prepare asparagus for cooking, rinse and dry the asparagus thoroughly. Trim the woody ends. If you like very tender asparagus, you can peel the outer skin of the stalks.

How long do you cook asparagus?

  • Cook asparagus in the oven for about 20 minutes in a in the oven preheated to 400℉.
  • Cooking asparagus by steaming takes about 7 minutes.
  • Cooking asparagus by grilling takes about 3 minutes.
  • Cooking asparagus by sauteing takes about 5 minutes.

How do you roast asparagus?

To roast asparagus, toss the stalks in olive oil, place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in an oven preheated to 400℉ for 20 minutes.

What is the best way to bake asparagus?

The best way to bake asparagus is to preheat your oven to 400℉ , drizzle the trimmed and peeled asparagus stalks, drizzle the stalks with olive oil, spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

What temperature do you bake asparagus at?

The best temperature to bake asparagus at is 400℉.

How long do you bake asparagus in the oven?

It’s best to bake asparagus for 20 minutes in an oven heated to 400℉.

How long do you broil asparagus for?

Broiling asparagus takes 6 to 8 minutes.

What is the best way to grill asparagus?

The best way to grill asparagus is to drizzle olive oil on it before placing them directly in the preheated grill grate for about 3 minutes.

How long do you grill asparagus for?

It’s best to grill asparagus for about 3 minutes.

How long do you cook asparagus on the grill?

You should cook asparagus on the grill for about 3 minutes.

How do you cook asparagus in a pan?

If you’re cooking asparagus in a pan, you should saute it. Make sure the stalks are washed, trimmed, cut while you heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, toss the asparagus and gently stir it for about 5 minutes until the stalks are bright green and tender.

How do you poach asparagus?

To poach asparagus, in a medium saucepan, heat about an inch and a half of water to a simmer. Add the asparagus and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until the asparagus is bright green and tender.

How long do you poach asparagus?

Poaching asparagus takes about 3 minutes.

How do you steam asparagus?

You can steam asparagus using a steamer basket and a stock pot with about 3 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and place the asparagus in the basket before putting it in the stock pot and letting it steam for 7 minutes.

How long do you steam asparagus for?

Steam asparagus for 7 minutes or until it’s bright green and tender.

How do you boil asparagus?

To boil asparagus, bring about 2 inches of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the asparagus and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

How do you fry asparagus?

To fry asparagus, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the asparagus and stir it for about 5 minutes and the asparagus is bright green and tender.

How do you microwave asparagus?

To microwave asparagus, place the asparagus in a microwave-safe bowl, season it, and microwave it on high for 2 minutes. Stir the asparagus and microwave it for another 2 minutes or until it’s bright green and tender.

How do you reheat asparagus?

To reheat asparagus, wrap the stalks in aluminum foil like a packet and heat it in an oven preheated to 350℉ for 5 minutes.

How do you reheat asparagus in the microwave?

Like most vegetables, reheating asparagus in the microwave will make it soft and mushy. It’s best to heat asparagus in an oven preheated 350℉ for 5 minutes.

How do you reheat asparagus in the oven?

To reheat asparagus in the oven, preheat your oven to 350℉. Spread your asparagus out on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes and your asparagus is ready to serve.

How do I know when asparagus is done?

You know if asparagus is done if it is bright green and your fork can pierce it without too much force.

How long does it take to cook asparagus?

It takes 5-7 minutes to cook asparagus, whether you’re grilling it, sauteing it, steaming it, roasting it, or reheating it.

What is the appropriate internal temperature of asparagus?

The safe internal temperature of asparagus is 135℉.