Food Guide


Buying Tips

The peak season for fresh asparagus lasts from February through June; hothouse asparagus is available year-round in some regions. Asparagus is also available canned and frozen. When buying asparagus, choose firm, bright green (or pale ivory) stalks with tight tips. Wider spears are from older plants, and slender spears from younger ones; both are tender and flavorful.


Green asparagus is the most commonly seen type. White asparagus, which is grown underground to prevent chlorophyll from developing and turning it green, has thicker, smoother spears. It’s harder to find, but worth the effort. A less frequently seen variety is purple asparagus, called viola, which actually turns green during cooking.

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Because it’s grown in sandy soil, asparagus should be washed thoroughly to remove any dirt or grit. Snap any tough ends off and immerse the stalks in boiling salted water. Reduce heat, simmer, and remove after about five minutes, while still bright green. Toss with olive oil and serve hot. Asparagus is also good in stir-fry dishes.


Store asparagus tightly wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days in the refrigerator. It may also be stored standing upright, with the stems immersed in about an inch of water and the tops covered with plastic.

Nutrition Highlights

Asparagus (raw), 1 medium spear

  • Calories: 3
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrate: 1g
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.