(Baptist Health) – If there were ever a tasty treat worth stocking up on, it’s fresh asparagus. With spring finally here, this versatile veggie is popping up at grocery stores and in gardens all over.
And asparagus is as good for you as it is flavorful. To start with, it’s low in calories and has no fat or sodium. And those sweet, crisp spears are packed with bone-building vitamin K and vision-boosting vitamin A. They’re rich in folate too. That’s a B vitamin that helps repair DNA and may play a role in preventing cancer.
When you’re shopping, choose odorless stalks with dry, tight tips. Steer clear of limp or wilted stalks. Asparagus will keep for up to four days in the fridge—assuming, of course, you can resist eating it right away. Just stand the stalks (tips up) in a glass jar with an inch or so of water.
Try it 5 ways
With asparagus so abundant at this time of year, you may be wondering about fresh ways to prepare it. Try these ideas from the Produce for Better Health Foundation:
1. Shake and bake it. Place asparagus in a sealable bag; drizzle with olive oil; and add a little salt, pepper and other seasonings. Seal and shake until the asparagus is coated, then spread it on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until crisp.
2. Pair it with eggs. Add steamed pieces of asparagus to an omelet made with egg whites, feta cheese and halved cherry tomatoes.
3. Dress it up. Boil asparagus and drizzle it with a mustard vinaigrette.
4. Turn it into an awesome appetizer. Spread a soft cheese (such as brie or goat) on whole-wheat crackers. Top with a crisp asparagus head and a pinch of pepper.
5. Spoon it up. Puree the cooked stalks into a hearty spring soup with leeks, onions, potatoes, low-sodium broth, lemon juice and low-fat sour cream. Garnish with the tips.