Spring vegetables are coming into season and one of the first ones is asparagus. Asparagus was a luxury food for centuries and was enjoyed by famous people such as Julius Caesar, Louis XIV, and Thomas Jefferson.  Asparagus comes in two colours – green and white. Green is by far the most popular.

Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as an excellent source of folacin (vitamin B9).  One half cup of asparagus contains only 24 calories, which makes it a healthy low caloric vegetable.

When looking for asparagus look for straight, crisp spears with green or purple tips and tight heads.  Freshness is more important than size.  It is best to eat fresh but it can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days.  Wrap the ends of the stem in a damp paper towel then cover the bunch with plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can stand them up in a jug of water.

Preparing asparagus is easy. Wash then first under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Snap off and discard the tough, woody stalk end. Do not overcook in order to keep the nutrients, flavour, and crispness.  Thin spears may only need less than three minutes to cook.  To cook add enough water in a saucepan to just cover the asparagus.  Add one tsp salt and cook until tender but still with a crisp. Drain well. You can also steam asparagus, drizzle with oil and oven-roast them, or stir-fry them.  They are great on the BBQ as well.

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