ASPARAGUS SPEARS

An elegant vegetable that is tender and succulent to eat. Asparagus is a young edible shoot, commonly sold as spears. The slightly glossy spears are about 20cm long with many small, bumpy, triangular scales concentrated at one end of the stem and a woody base at the other.

Asparagus is an excellent source of folic acid. It also contains asparagine, an acid substance that gives the vegetable its characteristic flavour and is also a diuretic. The asparagus crown is actually an underground stem from which the asparagus spears shoot and the roots are called rhizomes (pronounced rye-zomes). The spears are harvested in two ways which gives them a different colour. White asparagus is grown below the ground and not exposed to light. When harvested it is cut below the surface before being lifted out of the soil. Green asparagus are grown in sunlight.

ASPARAGUS SPEARS are classed as a vegetable.

Tips

Asparagus must be cooked. Enjoy at its best simply steamed and served as a vegetable accompaniment. It can also be boiled, pan-fried, roasted or microwaved.

Nutritional Information

Typical values per 100g: energy 27 kcal, 114 kJ protein 2.2g carbohydrate 4.3g fat 0g.

Preparation

Cut or snap off the woody base, peel skin off thicker spears before cooking. Wash thoroughly before use. Avoid overcooking as it will lose its flavour - the spears should retain some firmness. If boiling in large quantities, tie them in bundles for easy removal from water. Boil, steam, microwave or griddle.

Storage

Asparagus is very perishable. Wrap in a damp cloth and place in a perforated plastic bag - store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Choosing

Asparagus should be fresh and firm with brightly coloured, compact tips. Spears should be straight and snap easily. Avoid asparagus with a wilted appearance or spreading tips. Fresh asparagus should be odour free.

Fun Fact

Asparagus reputedly can take the pain out of a bee sting - just crush it up and apply to the area around the sting.

Availability

Shown below is where this item grows in the world and where it may come from when you buy it at your supermarket or local shop.

CountryJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mexico
Peru
Spain
UK