Michigan grown asparagus

The wonders of Michigan asparagus.

Michigan produces up to 25 million pounds of asparagus each year. The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board says that Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus production. As well as bringing an estimated 15 million dollars to Michigan’s economy, asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well balanced vegetables available. Asparagus is one of the leading vegetables in supplying folic acid, which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth and prevention of liver disease. It is also a good source of fiber, low in sodium, fat and calories.

Asparagus comes fresh, frozen or canned, all of which can be steamed or placed in microwave for four to seven minutes with a small amount of water. To store fresh asparagus, trim stem ends about a quarter-inch and wash in warm water several times. Pat dry and place in moisture-proof wrapping. Refrigerate and use within two to three days. To maintain freshness, wrap moist paper towel around stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water. For more information on storing and preserving of fresh asparagus log on to Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh.

Below is a pasta dish from the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board that asparagus goes well with.

Pesto chicken pasta

8 ounces uncooked pasta

2 cups cut-up fresh or frozen asparagus

3 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

3/4 cup prepared pesto sauce

3 tablespoons freshly shredded or grated Romano cheese.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Steam or microwave asparagus until tender crisp. Drain. Combine cooked pasta and asparagus in a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, onion and olives. Gently toss with pesto sauce. Serve warm, garnished with cheese. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of serving.

For more on asparagus read Asparagus all-around: How it improves your health!

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