When it comes to nutrient-dense foods, asparagus is up there with the best of them. This crunchy, green vegetable is believed to belong to the lily family. Although most people recognize it by its green color, Spanish asparagus is often white and the French variety is purple. Regardless of which color asparagus you prefer, learn how to cook asparagus for its impressive list of nutrients and benefits.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
There are only a handful of foods that contain as many nutrients as asparagus does. Asparagus carries almost every vitamin. It is a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Its mineral profile includes calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and manganese. Asparagus is so healthy that many use it as an ingredient in medicines.
Asparagus is good for your intestines and digestion. It boasts high amounts of dietary fiber, which reduce the risk and symptoms of digestive and bowel conditions. It is highly recommended to diabetics for blood sugar management, and can prevent kidney stones.
How to Cook Asparagus the Right Way
Knowing how to cook asparagus properly is the secret to preserving its nutrients. You can choose between thin asparagus spears, which cook in less time, or thicker asparagus for bulky texture.
Prior to cooking, run the asparagus under cold water to remove sand and dirt. If your asparagus has tough stems, use a peeler to shave the outer layer off. Cut or break off the tough ends and chop the asparagus into smaller pieces starting about 2 inches from the bottom.
How to Cook Asparagus by Boiling
Pour 1-2 cups of water in a pot and boil.
Throw in the asparagus and cook until tender. Avoid boiling for more than 5 minutes.
To blanch asparagus, boil as instructed for 2-3 minutes. When crispy, remove from water and dunk into ice water to stop cooking. Serve chilled or warm.
How to Cook Asparagus by Sautéing
Rinse and cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive, butter or ghee in a pan over medium heat.
Add asparagus pieces and sauté until it is soft and bright green. Season and serve.
How to Cook Asparagus by Roasting
Prep your asparagus and preheat oven to 400 F. Wait until oven is hot.
Arrange asparagus on a baking tray and drizzle with a bit of olive oil or melted butter. You can season the pieces with salt, pepper, garlic and even cheese if you like.
Roast asparagus until it is bright green, about 10-12 minutes. It should also have some charred bits on the skin. Be careful not to burn. Serve.
When seasoned and cooked the right way, asparagus is a tasty side to any dish. Be careful to cook until crispy and not burnt. Season it with olive oil, garlic butter and your own blend of spices for a better taste. Serve asparagus with salads and soups to give your meals a nutritional kick.