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5 Facts About Asparagus You Need to Know

Thursday 15th September 2016

Get the most out of your Aussie spears!

With spring finally here, so too are some of our favourite veggies, and asparagus would have to be at the top of our list. Loved for its delicious taste and cooking versatility, asparagus is also a terrific source of vitamins, antioxidants and iron, making it the ideal go-to ingredient for a range of healthy dishes. Read on to discover some more interesting facts about this delicious veggie and why you should be making the most of the season!

Locally Grown
Yep, this tasty veg is much closer to home than you think with more than 95% of Australia’s asparagus grown right here in Victoria. In fact, one of the closest farms is in Koo Wee Rup at Vizzarri Farms, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Available to from September through to March, most Aussie spears are produced during spring time, which means now is the perfect time to stock up!

Selecting & Storing
Look for firm, bright, smooth spears of similar size. Freshly cut asparagus has been likened to caring for cut flowers. Keep your asparagus fresh for longer by wrapping it in a damp tea towel, putting it in a plastic bag and storing it in the crisper compartment of your fridge. Or, just stand the spears upright in a container with 1cm of cold water, cover with the lid and store in the fridge –  too easy!

Health benefits
With just 16 calories per serve, asparagus is wonderful source of B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium – all essential nutrients required for maintaining good health. Did you know just one serve of asparagus provides a quarter of our daily vitamin C needs and 20% of our daily folate requirements? The high level of potassium also contributes to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, so when you put all this together, it’s no wonder why we should be eating more of it. Read more on health benefits here.

Different varieties
Most of the asparagus produced in Australia is green  with a very limited amount of purple available. While white asparagus exists, it’s a lot harder to find in Australia due to the high costs of production and limited demand, but you can get your hands on some at the Market from time-to-time from either Damian Pike or Reliable. The most interesting thing about the white variety is that it’s grown in the dark! Green asparagus gets its colour through the process of photosynthesis as the spear emerges from the soil into direct sunlight. Purple asparagus is rather different with a mild fruit flavour and a tender, crisp exterior. To retain its fascinating colour, purple spears are best eaten raw and is great for dressing up salads!

Bunch sizes
Available loose and in a variety of bunch sizes:

  • Regular bunches (about 185g) – the most common size
  • 500g bunches – great for family meals and barbecues
  • 100g ‘mini’ bunches – trimmed and ready to use.

Cooking
You can cook asparagus in many different ways. In fact, it’s the versatility of this vegetable that makes it so popular. Not only is it fantastic grilled in the oven with a splash of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, but it’s delicious on the barbecue; oven-roasted, blanched, steamed, and even pickled! From Asian soups and yummy stir-fries to tasty pastas and delicious breakfasts, it’s the perfect accompaniment to just about any dish.

 

 

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