BACK TO FINDER

Asparagus

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Asparagus officinalis

CLASSIFICATION

Vegetable

SEASON

September, October, November, December

About

This classic Spring-time vegetable, with its distinctive spear tip, is tender, crunchy and succulent. Most commonly known for its bright green colour, it is also available in white and purple. A nutritionist’s delight due to its bountiful supply of vitamins, minerals and fibre the asparagus is easy to prepare and extremely versatile. It can be steamed, grilled, roasted, stir fried or used fresh in salads.

This classic Spring-time vegetable is tender and succulent with a distinctive taste not too dissimilar to fresh peas.

West Australian Asparagus is available in strong supply from October to December.

The main area for production in WA is from Gingin to Denmark, mainly from mid August to December, with peak production from October to December. Asparagus is also grown in a small area in Kununurra and near Carnarvon from April to May and late Spring.

Tips and Hints

For a quick and simple appetizer, simple steam or microwave and drizzle with good olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.

Look for firm, bright, smooth, spears of uniform size with closed, compact tips. When you snap freshly harvested asparagus, it should be crisp, moist and juicy. Avoid wilted old spears as they may taste bitter.

Two tried and true methods of storing and keeping fresher for longer are:

1. Wrap in a damp tea towel, pop in a plastic bag and store in the crisper compartment of your refrigerator.
2. Stand the fresh spears upright in a container with 1cm cold water, cover and store it in the refrigerator.

These two methods should keep asparagus fresh for up to 7 days.

Asparagus can also be pickled or frozen for long term storage.

Tips and Hints

The larger the diameter of spears, the better the quality.

Wash and clean the spears. Break off the tough woody ends by slightly bending the spear where it will snap at just the right point. Depending on how fresh the asparagus is you may need to peel the base. If so, lay on a flat surface and hold the tip. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off skin from bottom half of each asparagus spear. Peeling asparagus is a great way to ensure even, beautiful, tender asparagus spears.

From here they are ready to cook or simply slice thinly and use them raw in salads.

To cook, lightly steam or microwave 2 – 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the spears) till bright, tender and a little crisp. They can also be roasted, stir-fried, grilled or BBQ. Drizzle with melted better, olive oil, lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar and sea salt.

Tips and Hints
Great partners of the Asparagus:
Shaved Parmesan
Poached Egg
Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon

Asparagus is a nutritionist’s delight. High in fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals while low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, the asparagus is an excellent choice for any persons diet.

Asparagus provides the essential B group vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and biotin. It is a great source of folate, with a serve giving us over 20% of our daily needs. Folate is essential for expectant mothers and for reducing heart disease risk. A serve of asparagus can provide 20% of the daily recommended dose.

ASPARAGUS
Nutrient Value per 100 g
Proximates
Energy, including dietary fibre 89 kJ
Moisture 92.3 g
Protein 2.5 g
Nitrogen 0.4 g
Fat 0.1 g
Ash 0.7 g
Dietary fibre 2.3 g
Fructose 0.8 g
Glucose 0.5 g
Sucrose 0.1 g
Total sugars 1.4 g
Available carbohydrate, without sugar alcohols 1.4 g
Available carbohydrate, with sugar alcohols 1.4 g
Organic Acids
Malic acid 0.1 g
Citric acid 0.1 g
Quinic acid 0.1 g
Minerals
Calcium (Ca) 11 mg
Copper (Cu) 0.08 mg
Iron (Fe) 1 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 15 mg
Manganese (Mn) 0.218 mg
Phosphorus (P) 49 mg
Potassium (K) 320 mg
Sodium (Na) 2 mg
Zinc (Zn) 0.2 mg
Vitamins
Thiamin (B1) 0.15 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.12 mg
Niacin (B3) 1 mg
Niacin Equivalents 1.42 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.17 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.12 mg
Biotin (B7) 4.8 ug
Folate, natural 114 ug
Total folates 114 ug
Dietary folate equivalents 114 ug
Alpha carotene 10 ug
Beta carotene 95 ug
Cryptoxanthin 25 ug
Beta carotene equivalents 113 ug
Retinol equivalents 19 ug
Vitamin C 15 mg
Alpha tocopherol 0.6 mg
Vitamin E 0.6 mg

Source:
NUTTAB 2010(Food Standards Australia New Zealand); The University of New South Wales; Professor Heather Greenfield and co-workers at the University of New South Wales; Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods (J Brand-Miller, KW James and PMA Maggiore).

Tips and Hints:
A great source of iron especially important for pregnancy, breastfeeding and heart conditions.