All You Need to Know About Asparagus!

All You Need to Know About Asparagus!

Been wondering when is asparagus in season or how long to cook asparagus in an air fryer? We’ll cover it all and give you a handy Infographic Guide to Asparagus with everything you need to know!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • April 27, 2021

Asparagus is the vegetable of world leaders. No, that isn’t hyperbole. Caesar Augustus had an “asparagus fleet” of ships just to transport the veggie, French King Louis XIV had greenhouses built to grow it year-round, and Ancient Egyptians even depicted it as an offering in a carving dating back 3,000 BCE.

So if you want to eat like royalty, too, you’re in luck. We will walk you through all you need to know about this world-renowned vegetable — from picking a quality bundle at the store to all of the delicious ways to cook it up.

Get our free Infographic Guide to Asparagus below and keep reading to learn more about this fabulous springtime vegetable.

Infographic

Guide to Asparagus

This comprehensive guide to asparagus teaches you how to pick, prep, and cook this tasty springtime vegetable.


Asparagus Basics

Asparagus is a wonderful, nutrient-dense vegetable that has an earthy and mildly bitter and sulphuric flavor. Its firm, snappy stalks come in green, purple, white, and wild varieties. While green asparagus is the most commonly eaten variety in the United States, purple asparagus is reported to be the most tender and sweet while wild asparagus stalks are often thinner than a pencil.

Health Benefits

A great reason to have asparagus make regular appearances on your dinner table is the health benefits.(1) Asparagus is high in essential vitamins (A, C, E, K, B6), minerals, fiber, folate, and antioxidants. It also helps promote digestive health through high fiber content and functions as a healthy diuretic that makes ordinary bathroom time an . . . interesting, shall we say, olfactory experience.

Another health benefit of asparagus is that it is basically pesticide-free, earning a place on the Clean 15 Guide to Pesticides in Produce. And, if you want a plant that is extra kind to the planet, asparagus has a very small water footprint, too.


Tips for Buying Asparagus

Let us walk you through when to buy asparagus, how to make the most of it in the off-season, and what to look for at the store.

Peak Season

Asparagus is an iconic vegetable of spring and the month of May is it’s seasonal peak in every region of the United States. Since it is tastiest, most nutrient-rich, and most inexpensive when grown and bought locally, we put together a helpful guide on when to buy asparagus in the 7 main regions of the U.S.

New England: May – June, but find it in season in Rhode Island between April – July.

Mid-Atlantic: April – June

Midwest: April – June, but find it in season in March in Kansas and Missouri, and in July in Minnesota and Ohio.

Coastal Pacific: April – June, but find it in season in California starting in February, and in Hawaii from February – April.

Rocky Mountains: April – June, but find it in season in Nevada starting in March.

Southeast: March – June, but find it in season in Florida and Louisiana starting in February.

Southwest: March – May, but find it in season in Arizona starting in February, and through June in New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Because the U.S. is so huge, there are even a variety of ranges of asparagus’ peak season within regions. So, if you want to check out the exact months produce is in season in your particular state, you can do so with this Seasonal Food Guide.

Off-Season

Since we’ve gone over the great health benefits of asparagus, it would be a shame to only eat this power-house veggie for a few months a year. Luckily, there are some good ways to buy a bunch during the spring and then preserve several bundles to enjoy the rest of the year.

Freezing asparagus is our favorite preservation method (even Romans were known to freeze it in the Alps!). All you have to do is blanch the stalks and then pop them in the freezer. Get our step-by-step tips on how to blanch and freeze veggies in our All-in-One Freezer Guide. You can also try drying asparagus to use in soups or pickling it for salads, grain bowls, or a fun addition to burgers.

How to Pick Good Quality Asparagus

What to look for: When browsing the produce aisles at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, it’s always a good idea to look for the thinnest stalks available because those will be the most tender. If you have a good pile to choose from, pick a bundle with the most uniform in stalk widths. That will ensure that all of your spears will take around the same amount of time to cook.

What to avoid: If any asparagus bundles are limp, wilted, have offshoots, or smell a bit musty, definitely go for a fresher set.


How to Prep Asparagus

Our Infographic Guide to Asparagus outlines our favorite ways to prepare asparagus here:

We also have a quick, minute-long video that shows you how to prep asparagus to watch right here:

Video

How to Prep Asparagus

Learn several different ways to prep asparagus with this short video.

Since wilted asparagus is never a good look or texture, you should always enjoy it as soon as possible. But, if you need to wait a few days before you can cook it up, you can make it last longer by trimming the stalk ends and then standing the bundle in a cup of water in the refrigerator.


How to Cook Asparagus

Caesar Augustus coined the Latin phrase “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action, and that was long before the world had air fryers and instant pots. This spring veggie can be cooked in a wide variety of ways and can be conveniently enjoyed no matter how much time you have in the kitchen.

Our Infographic Guide to Asparagus gives you our favorite ways to cook asparagus and how long and at what temperature you should cook them in each.


Best Recipes for Asparagus

Asparagus can be delectable in so many different kinds of dishes. Here are a few of our favorite recipes with asparagus that are a part of our Cook Smarts meal plan service. Not only will dishes like these pop up in our weekly curated menus that reduce food waste, they will also come up with many others when you search for ‘asparagus’ in our Recipes Archives.

1. Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

This Huli Huli Chicken recipe is made with a sweet and sour marinade that caramelizes as it grills. We then have you serve this entree with sweet Hawaiian rolls and grilled pineapple and asparagus on the side.

2. Pureed Asparagus Soup

Asparagus soup is a staple of spring and our 45-minute recipe gets extra flavor and thickness from added zucchini. This soup is served with delicious twice-baked potatoes for a hearty and healthy meal that freezes beautifully.

3. Creamy Chicken and Pesto Pasta

Bring on spring with this creamy pasta that is ready in only 30 minutes. The asparagus, peas, and fresh pesto truly show off the green goodness of the season.

4. Poached Salmon in Coconut Lime Curry

Poaching fish in this aromatic curry infuses it with flavor and keeps it impossibly tender. In just 40 minutes, you can enjoy a curry with bright, unique flavors that pair perfectly with salmon, asparagus, and snap peas.

5. Tofu Kimchi Fried Rice

If this is your first time trying kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), this fried rice is the perfect recipe to ease you into the new flavor. In only 30 minutes, you can enjoy a healthy fried rice filled with tofu, asparagus, mushrooms, and eggs, and freeze extras for later.


Now that you know about everything from all of the different ways to cook asparagus to how to pick it out at the grocery store, it’s time to download your free Infographic Guide to Asparagus here:

Free Download

Guide to Asparagus

Tips for how to buy, prep, cook, and enjoy one of spring's tastiest veggies!


If you want more information on cooking asparagus with or other vegetables, you can check out our Guide to Enjoying Veggies, Air Fryer Cheat Sheet, and Instant Pot Cheat Sheet as well.

We would also love to hear about your favorite ways to cook asparagus in the comments below!

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