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Did you know there's money in asparagus? In fact, there's more than $5,000 cash up for grabs to FS operators with the best recipes that feature fresh asparagus.

The California Asparagus Commission is awarding a grand prize of $2,500 to the tastiest asparagus concoction, and $3,000 more to be divvied between first and second-place winners.

Entries can include breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner recipes—including appetizers, small plates, salads, sandwiches, entrÈes—and must be received by June 30. Check out for details.

Asparagus 101

When shopping for, storing or preparing spears, the California Asparagus Commission offers the following tips.

  • The greener, the better: Asparagus that is bright green in color (or bright white for white asparagus) is the most tender. Also look for compact, firm tips and smooth, tender skin.
  • Fresh asparagus will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days if stored properly. Trim the butt end of the spears and refrigerate upright in an inch of water, and cover with plastic. Or, wrap cut ends in a wet paper towel and store in an open plastic bag.
  • One pound of asparagus typically serves 2 to 4 people. When preparing, trim about an inch off the butt end and cook asparagus only until barely fork tender.
  • Somewhat of a nutrient powerhouse, asparagus is low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, but rich in folic acid, vitamin C, thiamin and vitamin B6. It is also a source of potassium and many micronutrients, including cancer-fighting glutathione.
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