In season: Mid-April through mid-July
Choose: Bright green, firm stalks, with tightly bound heads. Avoid wrinkly stalks with soft, dewy tops.
Storage tips: Place stalks upright in a container filled with about an inch of water, or bunch and wrap stems in a wet paper towel. Refrigerate, and use within 2-4 days.
Prepare: Shave thinly and serve raw, or steam, saute or roast whole. Use fingers to remove woody ends where they naturally snap off. Pairs well with lemon, garlic, soy sauce, curry powder and a variety of other spices.
Nutrition 411: About 30 calories per cup, 3 grams of fiber, 30% DV of vitamin A, 70% DV of vitamin C, 15% DV of iron, 61% DV of folate (anti-inflammatory), 11% DV of vitamin E and an assortment of other vitamins. Bottom line- You can keep this veggie on your to-do list.
Fun facts: Asparagus is a member of the Lily family. This shining member grows particularly fast, lives long, and comes in several different shades. Somehow it manages to avoid growing pains, even in ideal growing conditions where stalks can shoot up 10″ in a 24-hour period. A patch generally yields edible stalks for at least 15 years and often longer, which makes it a great garden edition. Aside from the classic green, purple and white varieties also exist. The veggie contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan, which when broken down during the digestive process, causes some people’s pee to turn smelly. A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that when tested, only 46% of British people produced the odor while 100% of French people tested did. If you have the gene that puts you on the smelly side, you’ll know it.
Rest assure, look for an asparagus recipe or two coming soon.