If there were ever a tasty treat worth stalking up on, it’s freshly picked asparagus. With spring finally here, this versatile veggie is popping up all over at farmers markets and grocery stores.
And asparagus—available in green, purple and white varieties—is as good for you as it is flavorful. To start, it’s low-calorie and has no fat or sodium. And those sweet, crisp spears are packed with bone-building vitamin K and vision-boosting vitamin A. They’re rich in folate too. That’s a B vitamin that helps repair DNA and may play a role in preventing cancer.
When you’re shopping, choose odorless stalks with dry, tight tips. Steer clear of limp or wilted stalks. Asparagus will keep for up to four days in the fridge—assuming, of course, you can resist eating it. Just wrap the ends of the stalks in a wet paper towel, then refrigerate in a plastic bag.
Try it 5 ways
With asparagus so abundant at this time of year, you may be wondering about fresh ways to eat it. Try these ideas from the Produce for Better Health Foundation:
- Grill it
Place asparagus spears on a grill (use olive oil spray) over medium-high heat. Cook for five to eight minutes, turning occasionally.
- Shake and bake it
Place asparagus in a plastic ziplock bag; drizzle with olive oil; and add a little salt, pepper and other seasonings. Shake until the asparagus is coated, then bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until crisp.
- Pair it with eggs
Add steamed pieces of asparagus to an omelet with egg white, feta cheese and halved cherry tomatoes.
- Dress it up
Boil asparagus and drizzle it with a mustard vinaigrette.
- Turn it into an awesome appetizer
Spread a soft cheese (such as brie or goat) on whole-wheat crackers. Top with a crisp asparagus head and a pinch of pepper.
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