Eating Seasonally: Asparagus

By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

Michigan is one of the top producers of asparagus in the U.S., according to Statista. Oceana County, Michigan is home to the National Asparagus Festival and is also called the Asparagus Capital of the nation. Throughout May and June asparagus can be found at farmers markets, roadside stands, u-pick asparagus farms, and even growing wild along roadsides and in fence rows. For tips on how to find and identify wild asparagus, check out Sprout Distro.

Asparagus is included in the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen list of produce. Foods on the Clean Fifteen list have very low levels of pesticides even when they are grown non-organically. If you are concerned about pesticide levels in produce, asparagus is a vegetable that you can save a little money and buy non-organic without worrying about high pesticide levels.

The Spruce Eats clarifies the difference between green, white, and purple asparagus. Both green and white asparagus come from the same plant but are grown in very different ways. White asparagus does not produce chlorophyll because it is kept covered with dirt while it grows and never gets exposed to the sun. Green asparagus grows above ground and is exposed to the sun, so it produces chlorophyll which turns it green. Purple asparagus is a different variety of asparagus. Of the three, green asparagus contains the most fiber and is considered the most nutritious.

Asparagus is a versatile vegetable and can go with just about any meal. You can grill it, steam it, fry it, or eat it raw. My personal favorite is steaming asparagus just a little so it’s still crunchy. I put it in stir-fries, pasta salads, casseroles, or just eat it plain. Check out these recipes from BBC Good Food for some great ways to eat asparagus this season.

Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.