FoodLink - Purdue Extension


Asparagus officinalis
Available from April to June


Rinse aspargus under a stream of cool water and snap off the bottoms at their natural breaking point. Discard the bottoms or use them in vegetable stock. Most edible portions are 7-9 inches long.

Watch a video to learn how to cut asparagus.

You can microwave, boil, steam, sauté, roast, or grill asparagus. Do not overcook; asparagus is best when still crisp.

Microwave: Cut spears into bite-size pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl with ½ cup water. Cover and cook on high at 1 minute intervals until bright green and just tender.

Steam: Fill a saucepan with about 1 inch of water and insert steamer basket. Bring water to a boil, and put asparagus into the steamer. Steam for about 5-7 minutes until bright green and crisp.

Boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons of salt. Immerse the asparagus in the water and blanch for 2 ½-3 minutes. The asparagus should be crisp and bright green. Serve hot or plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Sauté:  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or butter in a saucepan on medium to high heat. Add the cut asparagus or whole spears to the pan. Sauté until bright green.

Roast: Heat oven to 400°F. Lay asparagus flat on an oven safe baking sheet or pan and drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Season with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning to taste. Roast for 12 minutes.

Grill: Cut asparagus as desired and place in large bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and toss to coat each piece. Add seasoning to taste. Place on a hot grill for about 90 seconds on each side.



Short-Term Storage

Store asparagus in an upright container filled with water or in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Asparagus will last up to about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Do not use asparagus if the tips are slimy, yellow, soft, or rotten.

Long-Term Storage

Asparagus can be frozen or pickled.

To freeze, blanch or steam asparagus for 30 seconds in boiling water then plunge into cold water for 5 minutes. Dry the asparagus with a lint-free towel. Put into freezer bags and store up to 3-4 months in a freezer.

Learn more about pickling asparagus.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Quick Fact

Believe it or not, there is actually a museum dedicated solely to asparagus. The European Asparagus Museum (Europäisches Spargelmuseum in German) in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, Germany, captures everything about asparagus from its history to its botany, cultivation, art, and curiosities.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

 1 Cup (134g)







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 32 mg














Vitamin A

 51 ug


Vitamin C

 8 mg





Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Asparagus, like onion, is in the lilly family. Asparagus is an herbaceous perennial vegetable that you can add to your garden for early spring harvests.

New shoots are harvested each spring, usually beginning in April, perhaps a bit earlier in southern Indiana. Plant in full sun.

Asparagus plants can reach 6 feet tall during summer 'fern' growth. Dormant plants (called crowns) are planted in spring. There is a light harvest the following year and a full harvest, lasting 6-8 weeks, beginning the third or fourth year and thereafter. Estimated yield for a 10-foot row is 3-4 pounds.

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