Asparagus Basics: Picking, Storing, Nutrition and Healthy, Oil-Free Vegan Recipes

Here are Asparagus Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes.  When to choose organic.  Plus, nutrition information on this delicious fresh vegetable.

Fresh Green Asparagus is a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Grill it, steam it, or roast it in your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Fresh Green Asparagus is a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Grill it, steam it, or roast it in your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Purple Asparagus is a gorgeous, healthy vegetable.  Antioxidants give this vegetable unique color.  Shave it raw for healthy, oil-free vegetarian salads

Purple Asparagus is a gorgeous, healthy vegetable.  Antioxidants give this vegetable unique color.  Shave it raw for healthy, oil-free vegetarian salads

Chef's Tip: Snap off the woody end of one asparagus spear.  Where the stalk naturally breaks shows you where to trim off the tough, woody ends.

Chef's Tip: Snap off the woody end of one asparagus spear.  Where the stalk naturally breaks shows you where to trim off the tough, woody ends.

Quick Reference Pin:

Asparagus 101 Infographic Pin - Season, How to Choose, Store, Cook, Recipe Ideas and Healthy Nutrition

Asparagus Basics

Season:  

  • Asparagus is a Spring vegetable, in season April through June

Choosing: 

  • Tight Tips: Look for closed, tight tips on asparagus, as this means the stalks are sweeter and fresher.  
  • Avoid the Limp:  Avoid any limp or shriveled stalks (likely a sign the asparagus has been sitting on the shelf too long).  
  • Size...Doesn't Matter: The thickness doesn't matter.  Some people say skinny spears are sweeter, but it's really just a matter of preference.  Thicker spears just mean more mature asparagus plants.

Storing:

  • Eat it Quick:  If you're eating it in just a day or 2, you can simply leave in a ventilated, cool place in your refrigerator
  • In a jar:  For longer than a couple of days, use the jar method.  Trim bottom 2 inches and store upright in a jar with a little water.  Cover the whole bunch and jar with a plastic bag. When the water gets cloudy, change it.

How to Clean and Cook:

  • How to Clean: Rinse the asparagus under running water to remove any grit
  • How to Trim: Snap off the woody end of one spear.  Where the stalk naturally breaks shows you where to trim off the tough, woody ends.  
  • Asparagus Ends: Can be saved for vegetable stock or pureed asparagus soup
  • Do you need to peel?  If you're using asparagus for a raw salad or a fancy presentation, you may want to use a vegetable peeler to remove a thin layer of the outer peel.  However, this is not necessary for most home cooks, especially if you choose fresh, sweet asparagus.
  • How to Cook: Grill, roast, steam, boil, or stir-fry asparagus.  It cooks quickly, just 7-10 minutes to roast asparagus, depending on the thickness of the stalks.  You can also thinly shave and enjoy raw in salads or slaw.

Nutrition (help from MichiganAsparagus.Org)

  • Low Calorie, Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium
  • Good Source of: Potassium and Fiber
  • Excellent Source of: Folacin (a B-Vitamin that helps with cell growth, repair, and reproduction; strongly recommended for women are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant)
  • Significant source of: Thiamin, Vitamin B6, and Rutin
  • Contains Glutathione (GSH), a powerful antioxidant and anticarcinogen 

Healthy, Oil-Free Plant-Based Asparagus Recipes