Saturday, April 15, 2023

Asparagus, Spring Veggie for Wellness and Flavor

Steamed Green Asparagus with Lemon

This post is my tribute to asparagus. Once you see it, you may be inspired to add more of this fresh spring veggie into your weekly menu planning. 

Continue reading to learn ways to serve this easy to prepare spring veggie for its pleasing taste as well as health benefits.

There are three common types of asparagus, and green is the most popular. 

White asparagus is regular asparagus grown without sunlight, and therefore has no chlorophyll. 

Purple asparagus is fun to look at, but turns green when it’s cooked. To maintain the purple asparagus color eat it raw.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Asparagus

One-half cup of cooked asparagus supplies almost 2/3 of the daily requirement of Vitamin K for adults, a vitamin that aids effective blood clotting. 

One-half cup also supplies 1/3 of daily folate needs. 

In fact, asparagus is a folate power food, with 89 mcg in just four spears. 

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends women of reproductive age consume 400 mcg of folic acid, and pregnant women consume 600 mcg each day to prevent two types of neural tube defects.


For most adults, 100% DV for folate is 400 micrograms dietary folate equivalents (DFE) or 400 mcg DFE. 

Both men and women need dietary folate to prevent anemia (low number of red blood cells).

A serving of cooked asparagus is a good source of antioxidants including those in Vitamin A, E, C and K.

Asparagus is particularly high in flavonoids, substances that have blood pressure-lowering, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in a number of studies. 

Asparagus is rich in fiber and water, making this veggie low-calorie with only 20 calories for each half-cup serving. 

Eating a portion of this fiber and water rich veggie helps make us feel full longer. 

Help prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract by munching on as little as a half cup serving of asparagus. 

Studies suggest that a diet high in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Asparagus acts as a prebiotic, feeding good gut bacteria to aid digestion.

How to Select and Store Asparagus

Bunch of Organic Asparagus

If you’ve ever planted asparagus in your garden, chances are it’s going to pop up this spring. That’s part of the beauty of this hardy, flavorful, and nutritious perennial vegetable!

Although asparagus is offered for sale in most places year round, it's most tender and flavor-packed in the springtime. 

Select fresh, odorless asparagus stalks with dry, tight tips. Avoid limp or wilted stalks.

Fresh asparagus tastes best when purchased in-season and served that same day.

If that's not the case, store this veggie as you would store fresh cut flowers. 

Trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in a glass or jar in an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate. 

Change the water when it gets cloudy, and eat within 4-5 days.

Asparagus is harvested in North America from February through June, reaching its peak around April. 

If you live in the southern hemisphere it is reverse. For example, in Australia, the best season for asparagus is from August to December.


How to Prepare Asparagus

Choose the right size (thickness) asparagus for each dish. 

While the larger stalks are good for grilling, roasting, and barbeques the smaller, skinnier stalks are great for pasta dishes, breakfast scramble, snacking, risotto, salads, and the like.

Asparagus spears can be eaten raw. If you want to snack on them, select the thinnest stalks you can find.

Asparagus grows in sandy soil, and needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Do this right before using.

Soak asparagus in a bowl that's filled with clean fresh water, being especially mindful to cover the tips, where sand can accumulate. 

Soak it long enough to allow sand to sink to the bottom of the bowl. 

If the asparagus you select is thick, snap off the woody base by bending each spear a few times to find a place where it breaks easily. 

How to Prep Asparagus

This is near the bottom third of the stalk, where the tender part starts to turn woody. Or simply line up the stem ends and trim off an inch or so. 

If desired, scrape the scales off each spear using a vegetable peeler. This gives the veggie a smooth, clean look and improves the texture of tough or fat spears. 

Cut asparagus into bite size 1-inch pieces for easy handling, cooking, and eating.

Save cuttings in an airtight container in freezer. When you make veg soup or are slow cooking dishes like casseroles or stews, cook the asparagus trimmings with other ingredients.

If you can't use asparagus bottoms in any of these ways, add them to a compost pile. Food Waste Not Want Not.

Like all vegetables, overcooking asparagus may cause nutrients to leach out. 

To steam, sauté, or boil asparagus keep the cooking time to 3-5 minutes. Be aware that cooking times vary according to the size of the asparagus stalks and number of portions you are preparing.

Recipe for Delicious Steamed Asparagus

Asparagus in a Steamer

This is the quickest, easiest recipe for mouthwatering steamed asparagus I know.


1 lb. fresh spring asparagus
1-2 cups of water to steam asparagus
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
juice and zest of a fresh lemon

What to do:

1. Wash asparagus as suggested above.

2. For best results, cook in a steamer, one that has a steamer basket insert. 
3. Bring water to a boil before using tongs to place asparagus into the steamer basket. Then cover pot.

NOTE: a steamer basket is a handy kitchen utensil. It lifts asparagus out of the water and off the bottom of the pan. Steamer baskets prevent veggies from becoming soggy and mushy. If you don't have a steamer, use a covered sauce pan. Simply put cut asparagus directly into an inch of boiling water and cover. Just test the asparagus every minute and remove from water, as soon as asparagus stalks are fork tender.

4. Cook on medium for no more then 3-5 minutes or until asparagus are fork tender and remain bright green. Use tongs to transfer into a serving dish.

 5. For heightened flavor, drizzle on a few drops of extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and lemon zest. If you want a fat free version, omit the oil.

Garnish with lemon wedges, parsley, or other fresh herb of your choosing.

This recipe serves 4 as a side dish. 

Additional serving suggestions: 

Include steamed asparagus in rice, quinoa, or pasta dishes. 

Asparagus with Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce

Steamed asparagus is delicious when it's a featured ingredient in a brunch or dinner spring hummus asparagus kale salad.

Asparagus in a Hummus Kale Salad

Prefer sweet or savory tasting asparagus? It's as simple as being intentional with the herbs and spices you use to season them.

Asparagus is awesome when added to salads, sandwiches, soups, and used as a dipper for hummus or other spreads.

No matter how you serve it, asparagus is one spring veggie too nutritious and scrumptious to pass up.

Please take this opportunity to comment below.

Do you enjoy serving asparagus at home or enjoy it only when served in a restaurant?

Did you know asparagus is so healthy and can be prepared in so many different ways?

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not be able to publish those with links. Thanks for understanding.

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  1. Asparagus is such an amazingly versatile vegetable! It was always a favourite when I was younger. Don't have it so much now but maybe I should!

    1. Thanks so much Katherine for your comment. Understand about you considering eating more of it. Since I did the research into this post and discovering asparagus' health and nutrition benefits, I'm committed to eating it more often. Have a great day.

  2. You're making me hungry for asparagus! I tend to over cook and over steam. Thank you for giving the steaming time!

    1. Glad I could help. I love asparagus and am happy my post made you hungry for it. Enjoy.

  3. Perfect post on asparagus. My husband loves this spring veggie. Thank you for the tips to add it into my weekly menu!


  4. This is timely! I’ve been meaning to add asparagus to our diet and needs to do some research on it like how to prepare, recipes, etc. Thank you for this!

    1. Thanks Rosie and have fun whipping up those asparagus dishes.

  5. Asparagus is one of my very favorite vegetables, it is so versatile and can be used in so many ways! I didn't realize it had so many health benefits, thank you!

    1. Thanks Jenna for the visit and comment. Yes, asparagus is so healthy and delicious that I'm making it a point to eat more of this attractive green veggie this month.

  6. I know asparagus are supposed to be super healthy. I've never tried the white and never knew why they were white! thanks I enjoyed your post as usual.

    1. Glad I was able to share new info with you. I LOVE asparagus, and I learned some new things about them by doing research for this post. Have a terrific day Judee and be well.

  7. I haven't had asparagus in awhile. I'll have to try this recipe, it sounds so good right now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Julie for the comment and enjoy those asparagus!

  8. My neighbor just now brought by some asparagus. I am going to roast it with sweet potatoes and cauliflower I already have in the fidge.

    1. Sounds yummy. Thanks for the comment and have a beautiful day.

  9. I just love, love, love asparagus and will have it daily, depending on the price. Pinned this.
    Visited you via Home Matters Linky Party #426
    If not already part of SSPS, this is a personal invite to hop over and come and share your posts with us at Senior Salon Pit Stop.
    See my entries: 46+47 and navigate to the bottom of my page for the Senior Salon Pit Stop linkup, we hope to virtually meet you there.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and support. Yes, I'll go over to Senior Salon Pit Stop now!

    2. Much appreciated and thanks for linking up with #SeniorSalonPitStop 257, Hope to see you again next week

    3. Thank you for joining us at Blog & Inspire FB Group. I love your blog and had re-read this post once again. I can eat asparagus daily in season. It's so versatile and once can do so much with it. Thanks again for joining SSPS and B&I.

    4. Thanks Esme for your kind words and so glad I joined. Warm regards, Nan

  10. Thanks for the information and recipes regarding asparagus. It's one of my favorite veggies! Pinned. Thank you for sharing this post in the Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-Up 61.

  11. Oh yummmm! Asparagus is one of my favorite foods, and I loved all the great info and recipes! Makes me want some for dinner tonight! :)

    1. Know what you mean about eating them every night. Enjoy this fabulous veggie and have a beautiful day.

  12. I have asparagus and spinach at least 3-4 times a week, I love these veg both raw or steamed.

    1. Thanks for commenting Julie and keep up the healthy eating. Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy each day.

  13. I haven’t had asparagus in a long time. My grandma used to pick fresh asparagus from her garden. It was always so good.

    1. Those memories are wonderful. How did she make them? Hope you pick up some soon and try my recipe.

  14. We are adding asparagus to our garden endeavors this year. This post is going to come in so handy. Thanks for sharing on SSPS, hope to see you again next week. I will be featuring your post!

    1. That sounds grand. Please let me know how well they did. Wishing you a beautiful day.

  15. Asparagus is a favorite around here, I hope to get a bed of it planted! Thanks for the info, and for sharing with us at SSPS!

  16. We love asparagus around here! Our neighbors use have some in their garden and would share it with us but they moved and the new owners wont let it grow. They keep mowing it down. So sad. Thanks for sharing with us at the SSPS party! Pinned
    Maria @

    1. What a shame about the neighbors not wanting the asparagus to grow. Thanks for pinning this post. Wishing you a lovely day.

  17. Looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party - have a fabulous week ahead -