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Fresh March Seasonal Item: Asparagus

Add a Spring in Your Step with Fresh Asparagus

Struggling to figure out what to cook for dinner? Fresh asparagus from Giant Eagle is a quick, easy, and nutritious option! Often referred to as the “miracle” vegetable, asparagus has been a popular food for thousands of years. The history of this vegetable traces back to the leek family, which is among garlic, onions, and lilies. It is said that Nefertiti, an Egyptian queen, proclaimed that asparagus is the “food of the Gods.” With that kind of track record there must be something special about this super green!

Asparagus is typically green, but can also be grown in white and purple colors. This unique characteristic depends on the harvesting process. Asparagus takes 3 years to develop – growing to the diameter of a pencil. While each kind goes through a rigorous growth process, white asparagus is one of the most labor-intensive vegetables to harvest, giving them the name “white gold.” These vegetables are hand-picked and immediately placed in a dark box to prevent photosynthesis.

While white asparagus is more of a delicacy, green asparagus is what you most commonly find on the grocery store shelves and our featured item for the beginning of Spring! Read below for some helpful tips to guide you along your next asparagus purchase.

To Buy: Look for bright green stalks that are firm, compact, and smooth. It is common for this vegetable to have purple tints at the tip. Steer clear of wilted or limp stalks as this is a sign of age. Asparagus is best eaten quickly after harvest because they have a short shelf life.

To Store: It is suggested to wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel and keep refrigerated until used to extend the life of the vegetable.

To Prepare: With its distinctive flavor and incredible versatility, asparagus can be paired well with light and strong flavors. Asparagus is often made with meat and fish, in stir-Frye’s with other vegetables, or coated in seasonings. Reference the chart below to find out how long to cook green asparagus in multiple ways!

•  Boil: 5-8 minutes
•  Bake: 12-15 minutes at 425°F
•  Broil: 8-12 minutes
•  Grill: 2-3 minutes (each side)
•  Roast: 18-20 minutes at 400°F
•  Microwave: 4-7 minutes
•  Sauté: 2-4 minutes
•  Steam: 5-8 minutes – For best results, place in an upright position with the tips an inch above the boiling water.

Asparagus doesn’t have to be the vegetable that people only think of as giving them smelly urine (I know we were all thinking it). While this is one out of maybe two small downsides to eating asparagus, not everyone experiences the unpleasant stench. So, depending on your genetics you may be in the clear! Change everyone’s mind by getting creative with your asparagus cooking! No matter how you prepare this super food, it is sure to be a great complement to any meal!

Dine like a king or queen with these asparagus-based recipes!

Chicken and Asparagus Samoriglio

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Flank Steak with Asparagus and Mushrooms

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Spanish-Style Shrimp with Asparagus

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Sheet Pan Salmon & Asparagus

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