Along with peas, radishes and leeks, asparagus is a favorite spring veggie. While it’s in season from March to June, it’s available year-round—making it an easy-to-prepare, go-to veggie that you can serve with just about everything!
Asparagus is a unique plant that sprouts edible shoots, or stems, that develop feathery “leaves” on top of each shoot. It’s harvested while young, before the buds open and the shoots take on a “woody” texture and flavor. The use of asparagus shoots dates back to Egyptian and Roman times, when asparagus was cultivated for its flavor and for medicinal use. (It’s widely known as a diuretic.)
Asparagus is usually green, but white asparagus—which results from protecting the plant from photosynthesis while the shoots are growing—is common in many parts of Europe. White asparagus is sweeter and more tender than green, and is frequently used in German, French and Dutch dishes.
The high nutritional content and low calorie count of asparagus (about 40 calories per 1-cup serving), make it a great choice for just about any meal. In each 1-cup serving, you’ll find your complete daily recommended intake of vitamin K, as well as a healthy dose of minerals like folate, copper and selenium. Asparagus has also been lauded for its antioxidant and digestive support benefits.