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Australian asparagus is available from September to March.

Most Australian Asparagus is produced during spring (September to November). However, a smaller supply of Australian asparagus is also available during the summer months (a number of growers cultivate summer asparagus by setting aside fields of new asparagus ferns ready for ‘summer cut’).

Try it in in salads, soups, sandwiches and stir-fries, and surprise yourself with how delicious it is cooked on the BBQ!

Selecting Tips

Selecting Asparagus
Look for firm, bright smooth spears of uniform size with closed, compact tips. When you snap freshly harvested asparagus, it should be crisp, moist and juicy.

Storing Asparagus
Did you know that freshly harvested asparagus is very similar to cut flowers? It needs to be kept in cool, humid conditions. Here are two tried and true ways to help keep asparagus as fresh as possible:

Wrap it in a damp tea towel, pop in a plastic bag and store in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator.
Stand the fresh spears upright in a container with 1cm cold water, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Freezing Asparagus

  • Wash the asparagus thoroughly and remove any woody ends.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and carefully add the asparagus. (Please note, if you are blanching a large amount of asparagus, blanch it in batches of 2-3 bunches at a time to maintain the temperature of the water). Return water to the boil and cook for 1 minute and then remove immediately.
  • Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of cold water (ideally with ice cubes) to reduce the temperature quickly and prevent further cooking. When cooled (1-2 minutes), remove asparagus and drain well on clean tea towels.
  • Transfer the asparagus to freezer bags, remove excess air, secure and label with date. Store in the freezer until required for up to 8 months.

Health Benefits

Key Nutrients

Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist Glenn Cardwell (see below) has provided this information. Asparagus has abundant nutrition packed into every spear, including a range of B group vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Add to that the emerging research that asparagus has bio-active compounds like antioxidants that help protect the body against future disease and you have a pretty impressive vegetable.

B vitamins

B group vitamins help the body convert fuel from the diet, such as carbohydrate, into energy. With sufficient B vitamins it is easier for us to be active and get the best out of each day. Asparagus provides the complement of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin and vitamin B6, all helping enzymes do their job in the normal metabolism of the body.

Folate

One B vitamin that is of particular interest is folate because of its powerful health benefits. For example, adequate folate during pregnancy helps Mum deliver a healthy baby (too little folate is linked to spinal deformities in babies). One serve of asparagus (3-4 spears) provides over 20% of the folate we need daily.

Vitamin C

One serve of asparagus (3-4 spears) provides a quarter of our daily needs of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and helps in the absorption of iron in the diet.

Potassium and Sodium

A diet high in potassium and low in sodium (salt), helps keep a steady heartbeat and healthy blood pressure. Asparagus has the balance right: plenty of potassium and virtually no sodium.

Iron

Iron is a very important mineral for healthy blood. Although asparagus provides only a modest amount of iron, it is high in vitamin C so the body is better able to absorb the iron that asparagus and other vegetables provide.

Antioxidants and Bioactive Compounds

Asparagus provides some powerful antioxidants, such as rutin, carotenoids (e.g. beta-carotene), flavonoids, vitamin C, saponins and glutathione, which help keep our bodies healthy now and long into the future.

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