This month’s Harvest is a slender green vegetable that was considered a delicacy in ancient Roman times, asparagus. The asparagus we typically envision is called garden asparagus, and each individual piece is called a spear. Asparagus spears are typically served cooked and in American cuisine they are often served with a side of hollandaise sauce.
During the month of March, you may find asparagus used more abundantly in a variety of recipes from our cafeterias.
Did You Know?
- It takes 3 years before asparagus seeds develop into a ready-to-harvest spear.
- Mature asparagus spears grow quickly and need to be cut and harvested daily.
- White asparagus is made by covering the spears in soil so they do not get exposed to sunlight.
Try These Delicious Recipes
How to Buy, Store & Prepare: Asparagus is one of the most labor intensive vegetables to cultivate, unfortunately that makes it one of the least affordable vegetables. The price of a small bundle of fresh asparagus typically ranges from $3-$5. When buying fresh asparagus, keep in mind that it is in peak season during the late spring and early summer and will likely be more affordable during this time. Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator. The shelf life of fresh asparagus can be extended a few days by chopping away an inch of the stem and placing the ends of the asparagus spears in water.
Making it Kid-Friendly: Allowing kids to snap the asparagus is a great way to get them involved in the dinner making process and also to make vegetables fun. Toddlers may be more accepting of canned asparagus as it is softer and easier to chew. Older children may be more accepting of fresh asparagus and can help in prepping it for meal times. The woody ends of fresh asparagus often need to be removed before cooking. However, they do not need to be cut. When bent, asparagus will naturally snap in two in the correct place.
Nutrition and Health Benefits: Asparagus is rich in a type of fiber called inulin. Inulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels and may also help to diversify the gut microbiome and improve overall gut health. Asparagus is also a good source of potassium. Increasing dietary potassium intake from food while decreasing sodium intake can be an effective way to manage blood pressure levels. More research is needed, but it is also believed that asparagus may contain a compound that helps to dilate blood vessels, also aiding in blood pressure control.
|Calories: 27||Fiber: 3g|
|Total Fat: 0g||Protein: 3g|
|Total Carbohydrate: 18g||Potassium: 271mg|
|Iron: 3mg||Folate: 70mcg|
|Vitamin K: 56mcg||Vitamin A: 1013IU|