veggie of the month - asparagus

May Vegetable of the Month: Asparagus

Live Well Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Food Council is proud to present the Eat Well, Live Well campaign! Each month this campaign will highlight a new fruit or vegetable.

The May Vegetable of the Month is Asparagus!

Did you know…

  • One serving of green asparagus provides an excellent source of Vitamin K and Folate, a good source of Vitamin C, and a source of the antioxidant glutathione. So what is glutathione? It is an antioxidant which plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers and diseases, nutrient metabolism and regulating DNA and protein synthesis. According to the National Cancer Institute, asparagus contains more glutathione than any other fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants can be described as soldiers that fight off bad things in the body. When DNA is damaged or there are invaders in the body that want to destroy cells, the antioxidants or vitamin E destroys it before it can cause harm.
  • Asparagus can be harvested in three different colors: green, white and purple. Green asparagus is most commonly grown. White asparagus is grown by burying the crowns under a foot of soil preventing photosynthesis. Purple asparagus spears turn green when cooked. While there are several varieties of each color, they are most commonly marketed by their color (e.g., green asparagus, etc.).
  • Asparagus is harvested by snapping the spears off at the ground level when they are 6 to 10 inches tall. It is desirable to harvest at least every other day during cool weather and every day during warm weather to prevent spears from growing too tall.
  • Asparagus stems should be smooth and even in color. Avoid dry stem ends and wilted spears. Choose firm, closed stalks with green to purplish tips. Thick or thin stems are both acceptable, similar sizes cook more evenly.
  • The best way to store asparagus is in the refrigerator. Trim stems and stand stalks in a glass of 1-2 inches of water. Cover with a plastic bag and use within 2-3 days.
  • You can enjoy asparagus by baking, grilling, boiling, steaming, microwaving or using spears in stir-fry. Add cooked asparagus to soups and salads. Dip raw or lightly cooked asparagus spears in low-fat vegetable dressing.
  • Check out these videos for helpful tips on asparagus selection, storage, and prep.

The featured Sioux Falls chef and restaurant this month is Chef Sanaa Abourezk who owns and operates the Middle Eastern restaurant “Sanaa’s”. Learn more about asparagus and get Chef Sanaa’s Asparagus and Rice recipe with this Pick It! Try It! Like It! fact sheet.

Don’t stop there! Find ways to promote asparagus at your work, school, childcare, and in your community!

Sources: Eat Well, Live Well Campaign, Pick It! Try It! Like It!, Harvest of the Month, & Fruits & Veggies More Matters.

Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!

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