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MoonDragon's Nutrition Information
FOOD & NUTRIENT GUIDE: VEGETABLES

ASPARAGUS
(Raw)




Scientific Name:     Asparagus officinalis

  • Nutrition Basics: Asparagus Herbal Information & Products





  • ASPARAGUS - A DESCRIPTION

    Asparagus is native to Eurasia and a member of the lily family (Liliaceae). It was regarded as a delicacy by the Romans and other cultures since ancient times. While approximately 300 varieties of asparagus have been noted, only 20 are edible. The most renowned type of asparagus is the Argenteuil asparagus which is cultivated in France. The part used as a vegetable is the young shoot, and if white, blanched asparagus is required, then the earth must be mounded up around the young plant so that the stem is not exposed to the sunlight. The plant is harvested when the tip of the asparagus appears above the mound. French asparagus can be peeled and cooked, and served together with a creamy mayonnaise-type sauce, or it can be used on Pizzas.

    Asparagus, its fleshy spears topped with bud-like compact heads, is often thought of as a luxury vegetable, prized for its succulent taste and tender texture. It is harvested in the spring when it is 6 to 8 inches tall. While the most common variety of asparagus is green in color, two other edible varieties are available. White asparagus, with its more delicate flavor and tender texture, is grown underground to inhibit its development of chlorophyll content, therefore creating its distinctive white coloring. It is generally found canned, although you may find it fresh in some select gourmet shops, and it is generally more expensive than the green variety since its production is more labor intensive. The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color. It is much smaller than the green or white variety (usually just 2 to 3 inches tall) and features a Fruitier flavor. It also provides benefits from phytonutrients called anthocyanins that give it its purple color. With prolonged cooking, the purple color may disappear.

    ASPARAGUS HISTORY

    Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for more than 2000 years. As early as 200 BC, Cato gave excellent growing instructions for asparagus. The ancient Egyptians cultivated it, and Romans, from Pliny to Julius Caesar to Augustus, prized the wild variety. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean region, it has become naturalized throughout much of the world. It was thought to be cultivated in ancient Egypt with varieties discovered in northern and southern Africa. Falling into relative obscurity in the Middle Ages, asparagus was "rediscovered" and popularized in the 18th century by Louis XIV. Today, asparagus is cultivated in most subtropical and temperate parts of the world with the majority of commercially available asparagus grown in United States, Mexico, Peru, France, Spain and other Mediterranean countries.

    GROWING ASPARAGUS

    This highly prized vegetable arrives with the coming of spring. In California the first crops are picked as early as February, however, their season generally is considered to run from April through May. The growing season in the Midwest and East extends through July.

    Asparagus is a perennial, and almost leafless member of the lily family. The spears we buy in the store are actually the shoots from an underground crown. Asparagus spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils. Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period. Each crown will send spears up for about 6 to 7 weeks during the spring and early summer. The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking. Early in the season, there may be 4 to 5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours. After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.

    An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong fibrous root system. A well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 to 20 years without being replanted. The larger the diameter, the better the quality!

    ASPARAGUS VARIETIES

    White asparagus comes from the process of etiolation, which is the deprivation of light. Dirt is kept mounded around the emerging stalk, depriving it of light. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll without light, thus there is no green color to the stalks. Asparagus comes in the following grades: colossal, jumbo, large, standard, and small. Varieties are interchangeable in recipes, with the only change being in the color of the resultant dish.

  • Green Asparagus: Ranging from pencil-thin to very thick. Most American asparagus is of this variety.
  • White Asparagus: Preferred in Europe, these sunlight-deprived stalks are a little milder and more delicate. It is difficult to find fresh in the United States.
  • Violet or Purple: This variety is most commonly found in England and Italy and has a very thick and substantial stalk.
  • Wild: Asparagus grows wild in some areas, particularly in Europe. You will most likely have to hunt down your own, as it is rarely available fresh in markets, except in Italy and the South of France.

  • Aggie-Horticulture: Gardening Asparagus (PDF Publication)

    Asparagus needs to be eaten raw or cooked as soon as possible after picking or buying to retain valuable nutrients.

    WHAT IS THAT SMELL? - A GENETIC LINK

    Contrary to popular belief, persons who experience a strong odor coming from their urine after eating asparagus are not in any danger from eating this vegetable.

    Eau D'Asparagus: you may have heard the tall tale that "asparagus urine" is linked to higher intelligence. In fact, it is the result of a simple chemical reaction. Asparagus contains a variety of sulfur compound(s) called mercaptan(s) (or to use a more modern term, thiols). They include dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl sulfoxide, bis-(methylthio)methane, S-methyl thioacrylate, S-methyl-3-(metyhylthio)thiopropionate and dimethyl sulphone. (It is also found in rotten eggs, onions, garlic, and in the secretions of skunks.) When your digestive tract breaks down this substance, by-products are released that cause the funny scent. The process is so quick that your urine can develop the distinctive smell within 15 to 30 minutes of eating asparagus. But not everyone has this experience. Your genetic makeup may determine whether your urine has the odor - or whether you can actually smell it. Only some people appear to have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan into its more pungent parts.

    A study published in the May 1989 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that 46 percent of 115 people tested produced the odor in one group of British citizens, while 100 percent of 103 people produced it in a group of French citizens. The ability to smell the by-products may also be genetic. Another study published in the same journal found that 10 percent of a group of 300 Israeli Jews could not detect the odor. In other words, a person's urine could smell, but he or she might not know it.

    While eating asparagus may make your urine smell strange, it will not harm you. Actually, asparagus - a member of the lily family along with garlic, onions, and leeks - is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is an excellent source of nutrients that may help protect against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer. and antioxidants that may protect tissues against damage. Not to mention that asparagus contains 3 grams of fiber per 3.5-ounce serving and a host of health-enhancing plant chemicals, or phytonutrients, that may protect against disease.

    ASPARAGUS AND PURINES

    Asparagus contains naturally-occurring substances called purines. Purines are commonly found in plants, animals, and humans. In some individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, excessive intake of these substances can cause health problems. Since purines can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid. The health condition called "gout" and the formation of kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of uric acid-related problems that can be related to excessive intake of uric acid-containing foods. For this reason, individuals with kidney problems or gout may want to limit or avoid intake of purine-containing foods such as asparagus.





    HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASPARAGUS

    Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet. Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which in high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamins A and carotenoids, E and C, and thiamin. Our bodies use some carotenoids to make vitamin A, while others are strong disease-fighting antioxidants. Asparagus also contains useful amounts of calcium, magnesium and iodine. Asparagus has No Fat, contains No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium. Because of it's wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content it makes asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for today's health-conscious consumer. Asparagus root contains compounds called steroidal glycosides, which may help reduce inflammation. In fact, some Chinese herbalists have used it to treat arthritis.

    ASPARAGUS AND FOLIC ACID

    Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease.

    If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy, make asparagus a frequent addition to your meals. A cup of asparagus supplies approximately 263 mcg of folate, a B-vitamin essential for proper cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis. Without folate, the fetus' nervous system cells do not divide properly. Inadequate folate during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida, that causes paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year. Despite folate's wide availability in food (it's name comes from the Latin word folium, meaning "foliage," because it is found in green leafy vegetables), folate deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.

    Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. Folate is involved in the methylation cycle, a biochemical event in which a methyl group - one atom of carbon and three atoms of hydrogen - is transferred from one molecule to another. Methylation reactions are the body's biochemical "spark plugs" in a wide variety of very important reactions. For example, methylation is crucial for the proper transcription of DNA, and transforms norepinephrine into adrenaline, and serotonin into melatonin. When the methylation cycle flows smoothly, the amino acid methionine is transformed into homocysteine, which is quickly converted into cysteine, and then back into methionine. Folate (along with vitamins B-6 and B-12) is necessary for the conversion of homocysteine into cysteine. When folate levels are low, blood levels of homocysteine rise, a situation that significantly increases the risk for heart disease. Homocysteine promotes atherosclerosis by reducing the integrity of blood vessel walls and by interfering with the formation of collagen (the main protein in connective tissue). Elevations in homocysteine are found in approximately 20 to 40 percent of patients with heart disease, and it is estimated that consumption of 400 mcg of folate daily would reduce the number of heart attacks suffered by Americans each year by 10 percent. Just one serving of asparagus supplies almost 66 percent of the daily recommended intake of folate.

    A NATURAL DIURETIC

    Asparagus is a very good source of potassium (288 mg per cup) and quite low in sodium (19.8 mg per cup). Its mineral profile, combined with an active amino acid in asparagus, asparagine, gives asparagus a diuretic effect. Although some popular articles on asparagine link this amino acid to the distinct urinary odor that can follow along after consumption of asparagus, research studies suggest that this odor stems from a variety of sulfur-containing compounds (discussed in detail above). Historically, asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and may also be useful for PMS-related water retention.

    ASPARAGUS FOR HEALTHY INTESTINAL FLORA

    Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin that we do not digest, but the health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, do. When our diet contains good amounts of inulin, the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria increase. And when populations of health-promoting bacteria are large, it is much more difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a foothold in our intestinal tract.





    ASPARAGUS NUTRITIONAL ATTRIBUTES


    Asparagus is:
    • Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 ounce serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
    • Contains no fat or cholesterol.
    • Very low in sodium.
    • A good source of potassium.
    • A source of fiber (3 grams per 5.3 ounce serving).
    • An excellent source of folacin.
    • A significant source of thiamin.
    • A significant source of vitamin B-6.
    • One of the richest sources of rutin, a drug which strengthens capillary walls.
    • Contains glutathione (GSH), a potent cancer fighter.



    Quick cooking best preserves the distinctive taste and nutritional bang of asparagus. Asparagus is delicious, beautiful, and easy to do ahead for a crowd and packed with nutrients.

    NUTRIENT GUIDE: ASPARAGUS

    Courtesy of Rick Hall, About.com Nutrition Guide nutrition.about.com

    NUTRIENT UNITS 1 cup
    -------
    134.000 g
       PROXIMATES
          Water
    g
    123.816
          Energy
    kcal
    30.820
          Energy
    kj
    128.640
          Protein
    g
    3.055
          Total Lipid (Fat)
    g
    0.268
          Carbohydrate, By Difference
    g
    6.084
          Fiber, Total Dietary
    g
    2.814
          Ash
    g
    0.764
       MINERALS
          Calcium, Ca
    mg
    28.140
          Iron, Fe
    mg
    1.166
          Magnesium, Mg
    mg
    24.120
          Phosphorus, P
    mg
    75.040
          Potassium, K
    mg
    365.820
          Sodium, Na
    mg
    2.680
          Zinc, Zn
    mg
    0.616
          Copper, Cu
    mg
    0.236
          Manganese, Mn
    mg
    0.351
          Selenium, Se
    mcg
    3.082
       VITAMINS
          Vitamin C, ascorbic acid
    mg
    17.688
          Thiamin - B-1
    mg
    0.188
          Riboflavin - B-2
    mg
    0.172
          Niacin - B-3
    mg
    1.568
          Pantothenic Acid - B-5
    mg
    0.233
          Vitamin B-6
    mg
    0.176
          Folate - B-9
    mcg
    171.520
          Vitamin B-12
    mcg
    0.000
          Vitamin A, IU
    IU
    781.220
          Vitamin A, RE
    mcg_RE
    77.720
          Vitamin E
    mg_ATE
    2.680
       LIPIDS
          Fatty Acids, Saturated
    g
    0.062
             4:0 Butyric
    g
    0.000
             6:0 Caproic
    g
    0.000
             8:0 Caprylic
    g
    0.000
             10:0 Capric
    g
    0.000
             12:0 Lauric
    g
    0.001
             14:0 Myristic
    g
    0.001
             16:0 Palmitic
    g
    0.055
             18:0 Stearic
    g
    0.004
          Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
    g
    0.008
             16:1 Palmitol
    g
    0.001
             18:1 Oleic
    g
    0.007
             20:1 Eicosen
    g
    0.000
             22:1 Erucic
    g
    0.000
          Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated
    g
    0.118
             18:2 Linoleic
    g
    0.111
             18:3 Linolenic
    g
    0.007
             18:4 Stearidon
    g
    0.000
             20:4 Arachidon
    g
    0.000
             20:5 EPA
    g
    0.000
             22:5 DPA
    g
    0.000
             22:6 DHA
    g
    0.000
          Cholesterol
    mg
    0.000
          Phytosterols
    mg
    32.160
       AMINO ACIDS
          Tryptophan
    g
    0.029
          Threonine
    g
    0.086
          Isoleucine
    g
    0.113
          Leucine
    g
    0.133
          Lysine
    g
    0.145
          Methionine
    g
    0.029
          Cystine
    g
    0.036
          Phenylalanine
    g
    0.072
          Tyrosine
    g
    0.048
          Valine
    g
    0.118
          Arginine
    g
    0.143
          Histidine
    g
    0.047
          Alanine
    g
    0.143
          Aspartic Acid
    g
    0.355
          Glutamic Acid
    g
    0.501
          Glycine
    g
    0.099
          Proline
    g
    0.162
          Serine
    g
    0.117


    USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 12 (March 1998)





    SHOPPING FOR ASPARAGUS

    From February through June farmers' markets frequently offer asparagus in a selection of thin, medium, and thick spears, while supermarkets sell whatever they get the best buy on. Select asparagus spears that are full, green and smooth looking. Avoid those that have a dry, shriveled appearance as these will have lost flavor and nutrients. Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight. Occasionally, white asparagus that has a milder flavor than green asparagus is available. White asparagus is buried under soil to block chlorophyll production, thus resulting in a white plant. Some markets also offer purple asparagus, which has a fruitier flavor than green or white asparagus.

    Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel, and be sure to place the asparagus in the back of the refrigerator away from any light, since folate is destroyed by exposure to air, heat or light.

    Do not wash asparagus before storing and never soak it. Trim the ends of fresh asparagus and stand them upright in a jar with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic bag and store spears in the refrigerator for up to two days.







    ASPARAGUS PREPARATION

    TIPS FOR PREPARING ASPARAGUS - TO PEEL OR NOT TO PEEL?

    Many chefs peel the lower stalks to avoid any woody strings, but others insist this is not necessary with properly selected, thin, fresh asparagus. Peeling is recommended for thicker stalks. If you feel the need to peel, chop off the bottom inch or two of the stalk, and peel downward from the tip.

    To prepare, wash the vegetable by gently sloshing it up and down in a sink of cool water, gently rubbing the sand from the stalks with your fingers. Asparagus needs to be cooked quickly to a tender-crisp texture. To gauge when done, poke a stalk with a knife and you should feel a little resistance.

    Asparagus can be served hot or cold. While it is not necessary to peel asparagus, you should cut off the fibrous base before cooking. Wash it under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues.

    You can tie asparagus stalks in a bundle to steam them, as this will make it easier to remove the stalks once cooked. If you find you enjoy this unusual vegetable so much that you become a true aficionado, you might consider purchasing one of the special tall, narrow steamers available that allow asparagus to be cooked to perfection - the tips are steamed while the thick stalks are cooked thoroughly in the boiling water. Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots as the tannins in the asparagus can react with the iron and cause the stalks to become discolored. If your recipe calls for cold asparagus, plunge the stalks into cold water immediately after cooking, then remove them quickly; letting them soak too long can cause them to become soggy.

    ASPARAGUS COOKING TIPS

  • One cooking method is to stand the asparagus in three inches of boiling water, cover and cook for 8 minutes or until the tips are tender. This method cooks the thicker bottom stalk while steaming the more tender tips. Steaming should be reserved for only the youngest, most tender asparagus.

  • To blanch, fill a large pot half full of water, add one tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and partially cover until a second boil quickly begins, then uncover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove to a towel to dry.

  • To freeze, blanch by plunging into boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes and remove immediately to chilled water. Drain. Pack in containers, label and freeze for up to nine months.

  • It is a good idea to tie the asparagus in bundles of 10 to 12 stalks for cooking, so they can be quickly removed from the water all at once.

  • Asparagus should be served warm or at room temperature as refrigeration dulls the flavor.

  • It is imperative not to over cook asparagus.

  • Remember it will continue to cook a bit, even after removed from boiling water. Asparagus readily adapts to other quick cooking methods, such as stir-fry and sauté.

  • A half pound of asparagus per person will satisfy most as a first course or accompaniment. There are 15 to 20 medium-size stalks in a pound. One pound of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths, will measure about three cups.





  • ASPARAGUS SERVING IDEAS

    RAW ASPARAGUS IDEAS

    Enjoy the sweetness of the fresh spears with a minimum of preparation. Simply wash them, and snap off the tough white portion, retaining as much of the green spear as possible.

  • Asparagus Salad: Chop, dice, julienne, or shred the asparagus and add to a salad. Angle cut the spears and create a special salad adding chopped red bell pepper, diced red onion, and dress with a light vinaigrette of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and a touch of sea salt.

  • Raw Asparagus Blender Soup: Create a raw blender soup with fresh asparagus, avocado, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, and white miso.

  • Pickled Raw Asparagus: Cut asparagus into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and put into a bowl. Add some thinly sliced onion, and marinate in the refrigerator using apple cider vinegar, canola oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Asparagus & Pasta: Toss freshly cooked pasta with asparagus, olive oil and your favorite pasta spices. We especially enjoy thyme, tarragon and rosemary.

  • STEAMED ASPARAGUS IDEAS

    Steamed asparagus served with light lemon vinaigrette makes a delightfully refreshing salad. In Europe it is traditional to peel the asparagus. Valuable nutrients are lost when the peel is discarded. Simply wash, break off the tips, and lay the whole spears in a saucepan. Add about 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately turn heat down to low, and steam 4 to 6 minutes.

    STIR FRY ASPARAGUS IDEAS

    Stir frying is an Oriental style of cooking that makes for a quick and easy way to serve asparagus. Angle cut the spears and stir fry in a little olive oil and chopped garlic.

    Chopped asparagus make a flavorful and colorful addition to omelets. A healthy dish is to sauté asparagus with garlic, shiitake mushrooms and tofu or chicken.

    ROASTING ASPARAGUS IDEAS

    For a delectable hors d'oeuvre, roast asparagus along with other vegetables such as pattypan squash, Portobello mushrooms, and beets.

    To roast asparagus, heat the oven to 375°F. Wash asparagus and snap off the tough white portion. Dry the spears and toss in a little olive oil to coat them. Lay the spears out on a baking pan, and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning several times.

    BARBECUING ASPARAGUS IDEAS

    When you get the urge to fire up the barbecue, prepare the asparagus as for roasting and put them right on the grill, turning very frequently. They will cook in about 6 to 12 minutes depending on your preference for a crunchy or soft texture.






    ASPARAGUS ON TOAST

    Ingredients:
      1-1/2 pounds Fresh Asparagus, thick or thin spears
      1 recipe Lemon Dill Silken Sauce
      3 pieces Whole Grain Toast
      2 Tomatoes, sliced

    Instructions:

    Wash asparagus and break off tough white portion, retaining as much of the green spears as possible. Lay the asparagus in a saucepan or stand them up in an asparagus steamer (if you have one), cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately turn heat down and steam about 5 to 6 minutes. Prepare Lemon Dill Silken Sauce. Place 1 slice of toast on each of 3 plates, and spread with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Top with tomato slices, and arrange steamed asparagus over the tomatoes. Top with 2 tablespoons Lemon Dill Silken Sauce, and serve the remainder of the sauce at the table. Serve with knives. Serves 3.

    LEMON DILL SILKEN SAUCE

    Ingredients:
      6 ounces Soft Silken Tofu
      3/4 teaspoon Salt
      1/8 teaspoon freshly Ground Pepper
      1 teaspoon minced Fresh Dill
      1 to 5 tablespoons Lemon Juice

    Instructions:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Makes about 3/4 cup. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for about 5 days.



    ASPARAGUS VICHYSSOISE

    Ingredients:
      2 pounds Fresh Asparagus Spears
      3-1/4 cups Water, Divided
      2 large Potatoes (1 pound), Peeled & Diced
      2 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon Granules
      3/4 cup Skim Milk
      1/4 teaspoon Salt
      1/8 teaspoon White Pepper
      Lemon Rind Strips (Optional)

    Instructions:

    Clean asparagus & cut into 1 inch pieces. Combine asparagus and 1/4 cup water in a 3 quart casserole. Cover with plastic wrap, turn back one corner to vent and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes. Add remaining 3 cups water, potatoes and bouillon granules to asparagus mixture. Cover with plastic and vent. Microwave at high for 10 minutes, stirring once. Reduce power to medium and microwave 15 teaspoons 18 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly. Pour about 1/3 of mixture into processor and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining asparagus mixture. Stir in milk, salt and pepper. Cover and chill about 8 hours. Stir well before serving. Garnish with lemon rind strips. Serves 8.

    BACON WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

    The taste of this easy-to-prepare appetizer will surprise you.

    Ingredients:
      1 pound fresh Asparagus
      8 to 10 strips Bacon

    Instructions:

    Wash and trim asparagus spears. Cut bacon strips in half crosswise. Wrap one-half strip bacon around each asparagus spear, leaving tip and end exposed. Lay on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bacon is cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 16 to 20 spears.

    CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP

    Ingredients:
      2 cups cooked Asparagus cuts and tips with liquid Or
      1 can (14.5 to 15 ounces) Asparagus
      Milk
      1/4 cup finely chopped Onions
      1/4 cup Margarine or Butter
      1/4 cup Flour
      1/2 teaspoon Salt
      1 teaspoon Chicken Bouillon

    Instructions:

    1. Drain cooked asparagus, reserving liquid. Add enough milk to liquid to measure 4 cups; set aside. In food processor or electric blender, puree asparagus; set aside.

    2. In 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft but not brown. Stir in flour, salt and bouillon. Add mild mixture and asparagus, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; serve hot. Garnish with cooked asparagus spears if desired. 5 servings, 1 cup each.



    GOLDEN ASPARAGUS SOUP

    Ingredients:
      4 cups Chicken Stock or canned Broth
      2 thin slices Fresh Ginger
      (1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger may be substituted)
      1/2 cup Dry Sherry
      2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
      1/3 pound Fresh Asparagus Spears, cut into 1-1/4 inch pieces
      (14-1/2 ounce can asparagus cuts and tips, drained, may be substituted for fresh asparagus)
      2 ounces Cellophane Noodles, cooked and drained
      2 Green Onions, thinly sliced

    Instructions:

    Bring chicken stock and ginger to a boil. Stir in sherry and sesame oil. Reduce to a simmer and add fresh asparagus and noodles (add canned asparagus at the last minute only to heat through). Cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in green onions and serve immediately. Four servings.

    CHICKEN STOCK

    In a stock pot, combine 1-1/2 quarts water, 3 pounds chicken back and neck pieces with skin, 1/2 lemon, 2 stalks celery cut in half, 2 carrots cut in half, and 5 to 6 peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 3 to 4 hours. Pour through a fine strainer and skim fat from top.



    PESTO CHICKEN-ASPARAGUS PASTA

    This one-dish meal makes dinnertime easy.

    Ingredients:
      8 ounces uncooked Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta
      2 cups cut-up Fresh or Frozen Asparagus
      3 cups (12 ounces) Cubed, Cooked Chicken
      1 cup halved Cherry Tomatoes
      1/3 cup chopped Red Onion
      1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced Ripe Olives, well drained
      3/4 cup prepared Pesto Sauce
      3 tablespoons freshly shredded or grated Romano Cheese

    Instructions:

    Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain. Steam or microwave asparagus until tender crisp. Drain. Combine cooked pasta and asparagus in a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, onion and olives. Gently toss with pesto sauce. Serve warm, garnished with cheese. Refrigerate leftovers; they make a great lunch. Makes 6 servings. Note: 1 (14.5-ounce) can asparagus cuts and tips, well drained, can be substituted for fresh or frozen asparagus in this recipe. Heat asparagus for 1 to 2 minutes in a microwave before combing with cooked pasta.
    ASPARAGUS & CRAB SALAD

    This salad makes a delicious main course for lunch or dinner.

    Dressing Ingredients:
      2 tablespoons Olive Oil
      2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
      2 tablespoons Sugar
      1 tablespoon Orange Juice Concentrate
      1 tablespoon Lime Juice
      1 tablespoon Dark Sesame Oil

    Salad Ingredients:
      2 cups cut-up fresh or frozen Asparagus
      12 ounces Crab Meat (fresh or canned) or Imitation Crab
      1 (10-ounce) bag Lettuce Mix
      1 cup 1/2-inch pieces Cantaloupe
      1 cup sliced Seedless Cucumber

    Instructions:

    For Dressing, combine all ingredients; mix well. Set aside.

    For Salad, steam or microwave asparagus until tender-crisp. Drain and let cool. Cut crab into bite-size pieces. Combine asparagus and crab in a large bowl; add lettuce mix, cantaloupe and cucumber. Toss gently. Pour salad dressing over all. Toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Note: Substitute 1-1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken for the crab, if desired.

    ASPARAGUS RECIPE LINKS

  • What's Cooking America Asparagus Recipes
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  • French Asparagus Recipes
  • Love To Know Asparagus Recipes





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