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Originally written by Kimberly Cripps , former SDSU Extension Family & Community Health Field Specialist, with contributions by Megan Erickson, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist, and Hope Kleine, former SDSU Extension Health Education Field Specialist.

Pick it!

  • Choose firm, closed stalks with green to purplish tips.
  • Stems should be smooth and even in color. Avoid dry stem ends and wilted spears.
  • Thick or thin stems are both acceptable, similar sizes cook more evenly.
  • Trim stems and stand stalks in a glass of 1-2 inches of water.
  • Cover with a plastic bag and use within 2-3 days.

Try it!

  • Add to salads, pasta dishes, stir-fry or eat cold with dip .
  • Key to perfect asparagus is cook briefly.
  • Can steam, boil, grill, roast or add to casseroles and salads.
  • Cook as soon as possible to avoid flavor and moisture loss.
  • To remove ends hold each end and bend until spear breaks in two.
  • Tougher bottoms can be saved for soup or stock.

Like it! Sautéed Asparagus with Mushrooms


  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ c fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 t fresh thyme chopped or ½ t dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In large skillet bring 2 inches water to boil with salt. Prepare ice water, set aside.
  2. Add asparagus to boiling water, cook, 4-5 minutes, until barely tender. Remove spears, place in ice water. Let cool, drain, set aside.
  3. In same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, asparagus, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook until mushrooms are wilted, asparagus is heated through, 3-4 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories 70, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 0mg, Carbohydrates 5g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 2g, Protein 3 g

Source: University of Illinois Extension

Program Materials

Colorful fact sheets, recipe cards and educational videos provide educators and families with fun, engaging tools to enhance any dietary curriculum in a variety of settings.

Quick resources are available in the fact sheets below. Download the zipped folder to use the lesson plan, sampling instructions, recipes and display materials in your educational program.