Asparagus is one of the most nutritional sides you can include with your family meal. Learn what to look for as you buy asparagus at the supermarket and get the biggest bang for your buck.
It’s crucial these days to ensure that your family is getting the most nutritious options available. Asparagus is packed with many vital nutrients, but you must know what to look for if you want to make the most of your grocery trip.
What to Look for When You Buy Asparagus
As you stroll through the produce section of your local grocer, be sure to look for the most colorful bunches of asparagus amongst the others.
To buy asparagus while it’s fresh, the stalks should have a smooth texture and a vibrant green color starting at the tips of the stalks.
This green will gradually fade to a bright white toward the base of the stalk. The tip of the vegetable will typically have a dark green hue but can also showcase rich purple highlights.
You want to avoid any bundles of asparagus that look wilted or muted in color, as these are past their peak of freshness. Another tell-tale sign that the asparagus is not fresh is a loose tip with evident spreading and loss of color.
How to Snag the Best Price When You Buy Asparagus
The most straightforward way to get the optimal price when you buy asparagus is to purchase the vegetable when it’s in season.
The price per pound on asparagus is also going to depend on the form in which it’s bought.
For example, you can purchase canned asparagus for $2.72 per pound while frozen will cost you $6.07 per pound.
Know Where it Grows
Although you can buy asparagus that’s been grown in Mexico, you will find that most U.S. commercial asparagus crops are produced in Michigan, California, and Washington.
When is The Best Season to Buy?
You’ll find the best times to buy asparagus are between the months of February and June.
However, if you’re looking to find the vegetable at its peak, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the brightest bunches in April.
Fresh Asparagus Alternatives
Although you might think that purchasing fresh asparagus at your supermarket is the healthiest way to go, there are a few alternatives you can try.
Canned asparagus, though sometimes much higher in sodium, is packed with extra nutrients because the stalks are denser when prepared this way.
On top of the spike in sodium, you’ll also note a significant increase in Vitamins A, C, and K, and a modest increase in Iron.
Canned asparagus is an excellent option if you want to stock up for the long haul. However, keep in mind that cans are not biodegradable, and are a less Eco-friendly option than buying fresh asparagus.
You can also opt to buy asparagus frozen. This is another excellent way to enjoy more nutrients out of the vegetable. Frozen asparagus yields more vitamins A, C, and Iron than fresh, but has the most significant value of vitamin K.
The Many Places to Buy Asparagus
Nowadays, there are seemingly endless options to purchase the groceries your family consumes every week.
The most obvious place to buy asparagus is at your local grocery store. Whether you’re purchasing fresh, frozen, or canned, you can find the vegetable in nearly every form imaginable at your local supermarket.
Another excellent way to shop for fresh asparagus is to check out a farmer’s market near the peak harvesting season. Though asparagus is grown between February and June, the early Springtime to April will be the best times to find fresh asparagus.
You can also buy asparagus plants online to try your hand at growing the plant in your private garden. With the right love and care, these vegetables will return for seasons to come.
There are three different types of asparagus to be found. Here is just a bit more information about each type:
This is the most commonly found asparagus and is more fibrous than its white and purple cousins. It gets its vibrant green hue from the process of photosynthesis.
The sweetest of all three types, the purple asparagus grows much thicker than its white and green counterparts. This version of the plant has high levels of anthocyanins which in turn create high levels of nutrients.
Grown in the dark, white asparagus never gets the opportunity to photosynthesize which creates it’s creamy white color. White asparagus is similar to green in taste but is far more pricey due to its growing process.
Although there may only be three different types of asparagus out there, you can find myriad varieties. Asparagus is a monoecious vegetable which means it creates both male and female plants, each offering a different yield and nutritional value when harvesting time comes around.
Find out more about the many varieties of asparagus here to discover your new favorites.
Now that you have a more general knowledge of asparagus, you can better locate the freshest options at your local grocer or farmer’s market.
You’ll also have a better idea as to when the best time of year is to purchase this vibrant veggie, so your family can enjoy it at its peak.