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5+ A Day

Asparagus

Asparagus
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Availability

Early season asparagus is usually available in September, with main supplies starting in October/November. Supply dwindles again in January.

 

Storage and Handling

Store in the refrigerator with the cut ends covered in moist paper towels.Handle all fresh produce with care and wash before eating.

 

History

Asparagus originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and was a favourite of the Greeks and Romans who used it as a medicine. In parts of Europe, Turkey, Africa, Middle East and Asia some varieties of asparagus grow wild.

 

Facts

  • In some countries people prefer to eat white asparagus (it stays white because it is grown out of the sun).  In New Zealand we like it green and there is little, if any, white grown. Purple asparagus is becoming increasingly available in New Zealand
  • Fresh asparagus sounds squeaky when rubbed if it does not squeak it is not fresh
  • Asparagus is perennial, and once established can produce stalks for 15-20 years

 

Growing Facts 

  • Asparagus can be grown from “crowns” or seeds and is best planted in winter
  • Asparagus will grow in a variety of soils and is a hardy crop, though they prefer well-drained sandy soils
  • Asparagus grow best in areas with rainfall in spring and summer and cold winters

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 78g - 5 spears, steamed

Avg Quantity per serving Avg Quantity per 100g
Energy (kJ/Cal) 87/21 111/27
Protein (g) 2.8 3.56
Fat, total (g) 0.23 0.3
- saturated (g) 0.052 0.067
Carbohydrate (g) 1.25 1.61
- sugars (g) 1.25 1.6
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.2 1.5
Sodium (mg) 1.56 2
Folate (µg) 67.86 87
Vitamin C (mg) 3.9 5.0
Riboflavin (mg) 0.17 0.22
Potassium (mg) 206.7 265
Niacin (mg) 0.69 0.88
Vitamin E (mg) 0.84 1.08
Thiamin (mg) 0.08 0.1
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 52.88 67.8
Iron (mg) 0.47 0.6
Zinc (mg) 0.47 0.6
Selenium (µg) 2.18 2.8
Calcium (mg) 14.82 19
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.008 0.01

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research

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