ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Asparagus: The Green Or White Treat

Updated on March 20, 2011

In the United States, asparagus season begins in April in the warm southwestern states, to late June when it reaches its peak in the Northeast. Whether steamed, boiled, roasted or grilled, asparagus makes a great first course, side dish or salad.

Asparagus is high in nutrition, providing 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folacin per 5.3-ounce serving. Asparagus is also a good source of thiamin, vitamins A and C, vitamin B6, fiber and potassium.

Although Americans are more familiar with green asparagus, Europeans adore the white version. Contrary to common belief, white asparagus is not a different variety from the green. Instead, it is produced by covering the spears with mulch or a plastic cover to prevent exposure to sunlight. Deprived of sunlight, asparagus can't develop chlorophyll, which gives all green vegetables their vibrant color.

The tough, woody end of the asparagus should be removed before cooking. To do this, hold the spear about halfway down the stalk with one hand. With your other hand, grasp the stalk using your thumb and index finger about one and one-half inches from the bottom. Bend the stalk until it snaps, breaking away the tough end.

Chefs vary on whether or not to peel the spears before cooking them. Generally, the larger the spear, the more fibrous its outer skin, and the greater the need to peel. Peeled asparagus also makes an elegant presentation. On the other hand, if you have tender, pencil-thin asparagus, why peel?

Here are some tips for selecting and cooking asparagus:

  • When choosing asparagus, look for firm, fresh spears with closed, compact tips. Pick spears that are uniform in diameter so all will cook in the same amount of time.
  • To grill asparagus, lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side until asparagus are tender. Serve with Creamy Soy Dip.
  • To boil, cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp and tender. To maintain its beautiful green color, boil asparagus in an uncovered pan, which will allow the vegetable's natural acids to escape.
  • Steaming asparagus produces tender spears with fewer nutrients lost to the cooking water. To steam, place vegetables in a steamer basket just above boiling water. Cover the pan and steam 4 to 5 minutes for small spears or 5 to 6 minutes for larger spears.

To determine doneness for all cooking methods, pierce asparagus with a skewer or knife. The vegetable should have some resistance with a slightly crunchy, but not fibrous texture. Also, pick up a spear with tongs; the spear should bend slightly instead of being completely rigid.

Fresh asparagus is delicious with a little olive or almond oil drizzled over it or topped with Creamy Almond Sauce. Another variation is to serve it in a salad, such as Spring Salad with Almond Spinaigrette, which combines asparagus with toasted almonds, red potatoes, cherry tomatoes and tuna. All you need to add is fresh bread and an assortment of cured olives for a hearty lunch or dinner.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)