Asparagus has some dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It’s an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. A serving of six cooked fresh asparagus spears has 1 gram dietary fiber, 490 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C and 131 mcg folate. Besides, it is also low in fat, sodium and practically no cholesterol.
The most nutritious way to serve asparagus is by serving it fresh, boiled and drained. Canned asparagus may have less than half the nutrients found in freshly cooked spears. As such it’s encouraged to take asparagus when it’s fresh.
Look for bright green stalks while buying asparagus. The tips should be purplish and tightly closed and the stalks should be firm. When storing, keep it fresh in the fridge.
To keep it as crisp as possible, wrap it in a moist paper towel and then put the entire package into a plastic bag. Keeping asparagus cool helps to hold onto its vitamins. At 32 degrees F, asparagus will retain all its folic acid for at least two weeks and nearly 90 percent of its vitamin C for up to five days. At room temperature, it would lose up to 75 percent of its folic acid in 3 days and 50 percent of the vitamin C in one day.
The negative effects associated with asparagus is that after eating, we will excrete the sulfur compound methyl mercaptan, a smelly waste product, in our urine. Eating asparagus can also interfere with the effectiveness of anticoagulants whose job is to thin blood and dissolve clots because asparagus is high in vitamin K, a vitamin produced naturally by bacteria in our intestines, a decent source of that enables blood to clot normally.
The white portion of the new green asparagus stem is woody and tasteless, so you can bend the stalk and snap it right at the line where the green starts to turn white. If the skin is very thick, peel it, but save the parings for soup stock.
Chlorophyll, the pigment that makes green vegetables green, is sensitive to acids. When we heat asparagus, its chlorophyll will react with acids in the asparagus or in the cooking water to form pheophytin, which is brown. As a result, cooked asparagus is olive-drab. We can stop this chemical reaction by cooking the asparagus so fast that there is no time for the chlorophyll to react with acids, or by cooking it in a great deal of water that will dilute the acids, or by leaving the lid off the pot so the volatile acids can float into the atmosphere.
Cooking also changes the feel of asparagus. Water escapes from its cells and they collapse. Adding salt to the cooking liquid slows the loss of moisture.