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In Season: Asparagus

Spring is here and the spears are out! Green spears of asparagus, that is. A serving of asparagus provides folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin and B6. Plus, asparagus contains glutathione, an antioxidant that helps fight cancer. Asparagus seems to be a vegetable that kids are not very familiar with. If your family has not experienced asparagus in the past, take this as an opportunity to create only positive associations with a vegetable.

At the store, look for a bunch of asparagus that is unblemished, bright green in color and has closed and compact tips. Asparagus will stay fresher by placing upright in an inch of water and storing in the refrigerator or wrapping it in a moist paper towel and storing in the refrigerator. Before cooking asparagus, wash it and snap off the woody ends. You will find that each spear of asparagus has a natural breaking point. Hold the bottom of the asparagus in your dominate hand and the tip in your other hand. Attempt to break apart, just as you would dry spaghetti pasta. Typically, asparagus is not eaten raw, but there are plenty of options for cooking methods, including steaming, roasting, grilling, stir frying, boiling or microwaving. Start with a simple recipe and don’t get discouraged if your family doesn’t love it immediately. There are plenty of options for incorporating asparagus into meals.

For more information about asparagus, visit www.calasparagus.com Grilled Asparagus From myrecipes.com Time Inc. Lifestyle Group Makes 6-8 servings >2 pounds of asparagus, trimmed >1 tablespoon olive oil >½ teaspoon salt >¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper >1 teaspoon lemon zest >Garnish: lemon slices, halved >Preheat grill to medium-high heat (300° to 350°F). Toss asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. >Grill asparagus, turning occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer asparagus to a serving tray. Garnish, if desired. Serve warm or chilled. The recipe above is basic, which allows you to modify it to your liking, once you are comfortable preparing it. For example, try adding other seasonings you know your family likes, such as garlic, oregano or basil. Then serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish, lentils, quinoa or brown rice and fresh fruit.

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