We got our first young asparagus in our CSA basket a few weeks ago, which means that asparagus season has arrived! Check out some health benefits and cooking tips for this season’s asparagus bounty.
Asparagus season is short. June’s heat marks the end of most asparagus crops, so now’s the time to enjoy this delicious veggie at its freshest. Whether you serve it grilled, steamed, or sauteed, asparagus makes any meal feel a little bit more special, doesn’t it?
Health Benefits of Asparagus
To get the maximum health benefits from your asparagus, it’s best to eat it as soon as possible after it’s picked. That means that locally-grown asparagus has more health benefits than spears shipped from far away.
Asparagus is one of the few veggies that contains a special type of carbohydrate called inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic associated with better digestion. Prebiotics are not beneficial bacteria like probiotics. Instead, they feed the beneficial bacteria that are already in our bellies.
If you’re trying to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, asparagus is a great addition to your grocery list. It contains a long list of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like saponins and quercetin.
Asparagus is also a great source for antioxidants and trace minerals. In fact, there’s research showing that asparagus rivals cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale in this department.
How to Store and Cook Asparagus
Asparagus loses water quickly, so you’re best off eating it as soon as possible after getting it home. If it’s going to spend more than a day in the fridge, wrap the ends in a damp kitchen towel to help prevent moisture loss.
When you’re ready to cook, just snap off the woody ends by hand, and you’re ready to go! Here are some asparagus recipes to get you going:
- 16 Asparagus Recipes
- How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven
- Asparagus Filo Pie
- Grilled Asparagus Pouches – This is a favorite side dish at our house. Pile your asparagus onto a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap it up, and throw it on the grill for 8-10 minutes.
- Smoky Asparagus Tofu Scramble
- Roasted Asparagus and Chickpeas
- Puree of Asparagus Soup
- Roasted Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas and Potatoes
Do you have a favorite spring asparagus recipe? I’d love to hear yours in the comments!