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A member of the Liliaceae (lily) family, asparagus stalks are known for their delicate, slightly sweet, herbaceous flavor. This veggie makes a quick and easy side for anything from salmon to sirloin, and plays a supporting role in salads and casseroles. Be sure to wash stalks thoroughly to remove any gritty leftover soil.
Peak Season: February to June
How to select: Look for firm stalks with moist ends and tight tips that aren't wilted or broken.
Price range: $2 to $4 per pound
Keep it fresh: To keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator, wrap the ends of the stalks in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag.
Pairs well with: Parmesan cheese, eggs, feta, shallots, leeks, beets, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes
Creative uses: Grill or sauté and make a frittata with shallots and Parmesan cheese. Shave with a vegetable peeler and toss in a salad with beets, cherry tomatoes and feta.
Nutrition highlights: Asparagus is rich in folate, a B vitamin that may help protect heart health. It also contains inulin, a type of carbohydrate that works as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your digestive system.