During its peak season in April and May, asparagus makes its yearly veggie debut. These green stalks of goodness are bursting with nutrients. More about that in a minute, but first, here’s the secret for how to keep your asparagus fresh.
Four Easy Steps: How to Keep Asparagus Fresh
1) Think of asparagus as a bouquet of flowers.
2) After purchase, cut the bottom of the stalks off. Remove about 1” or so.
3) Place the asparagus upright in a large cup, and add water to the cup. About half a cup of water should do it.
4) Store the cup, filled with water and asparagus, in the refrigerator. Check the asparagus every few days to make sure the cup still has water.
Water hydrates the asparagus and keeps the stalks firm. In fact, I tested this out the other day when I purchased some asparagus and noticed that the stalks were limp. That’s when I realized that the grocery store had not stored and displayed the asparagus in water. Luckily, this problem was reversible. By knowing how to keep my asparagus fresh, I revived it within a few hours.
Nutrient Profile of Asparagus
Lady Moxy members are encouraged to improve their fiber intake. Fiber promotes good gut health, and offers satiety, an important component for reducing sugar cravings. Asparagus, a non-starchy vegetable, provides a healthy dose of insoluble fiber. The benefit of insoluble fiber is that it speeds up our digestion, and aids in regular bowel movements.
Asparagus provides us with a good source of B-vitamins, too, especially folate. Folate is normally a B-vitamin that’s critical during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. Outside of pregnancy however, it’s still important for red blood cell formation, and for healthy cell growth and function.
Asparagus provides a substantial amount of Vitamin K, a vitamin that plays a role in helping the blood to clot. Ensuring that your blood is capable of clotting is important for both simple paper cuts, and for surgical procedures.
One interesting side note is that asparagus should be eaten in moderation if you take a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®)
Asparagus is Easy to Prepare
If you’re short on time, asparagus is one of the easiest and most versatile vegetables to prepare.
First, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer skin on the bottom half of the stalk.
Then, depending on your meal, you can stir fry, bake, broil, or steam. Asparagus is even good raw if cut into thin slices.
For a stir fry, asparagus is ready in a few minutes. Same for baking, broiling or steaming – about 4 minutes results in a firm and somewhat crunchy texture.
Overcooking asparagus makes it stringy, and in my opinion, unappealing.
What’s That Smell?
If you’ve noticed that your urine smells after eating asparagus, that reaction is totally normal.
Turns out “the culprit is asparagusic acid, which is found exclusively in asparagus. When asparagus is digested, asparagusic acid gets broken down into sulfur containing byproducts.” Although the smell isn’t pleasant, don’t let that deter you from consuming asparagus.
Keeping your asparagus fresh, for at least a week in the refrigerator, is easy. Treat it like a bouquet of flowers: cut the bottoms, place them in a cup of water, and you’re all set to enjoy this versatile seasonal veggie.