This superfood is chock-full of all three nutrients that protect against cancer- the mineral selenium, carotene, and Vitamin C. It also helps fight against heart disease and birth defects. A mere 5 spears contain about 28% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) of folate, with 110 micrograms. In addition, asparagus has been found to have the highest glutathione content when compared to 37 other vegetables. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that counteracts free radicals, high-energy particles that can cause damage to our body’s cells and lead to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.
At the Market
-Look for tips that are purplish in color and tightly pointed. If the tips are soft or look frayed or loose, the asparagus is past its prime.
-Make sure the spear of the asparagus is smooth and firm.
-Never mind the thickness of the spears- it does not effect the flavor of the asparagus.
-If the asparagus has a strong odor, it is too old.
-Choose asparagus without sand clinging to them because it’s difficult to wash sand out of the tips.
In the Kitchen
-Snap off the tough, white, woody stalk from the bottom of each spear. If exceptionally thick, use a knife.
-Store asparagus in the refrigerator immediately, loosely wrapped in plastic or a paper bag, avoiding exposure to air, heat, or light (to avoid destroying folate).
If you want to freeze, blanch it immediately and then tightly wrap it in aluminum foil. It will keep for up to 12 months in the freezer.
-Cook it gently- do not boil rigorously. Note: microwaving asparagus destroys fewer nutrients than other cooking methods.
-For best stove cooking results, fill a pot with a few inches of water, place the asparagus vertically into the pot (keeping the tips out of the water), and bring to a simmer.
-Toss the asparagus with soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger or lemon, tarragon, and olive oil.
My Go-To Recipe
Sauteed Garlicky Asparagus
Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Snap off the woody asparagus ends and cut spears in half (or into smaller pieces) and add to heated pan with garlic and spices. Stir gradually and slowly in pan until the garlic begins to brown and the spears soften. Serve immediately.
What is your favorite asparagus recipe?