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Veggie Bites for Kids: Asparagus

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Tween holding asparagusShe's elegant and nutritious. She's a star in kitchens around the world. She's Ms. Asparagus, and she took time from her busy schedule to talk about what makes her awesome.

Q: So tell us, Ms. Asparagus, what have you got that other veggies don't?

Asparagus: Well, I don't want to sound stuck up, but you did ask. I am rich in vitamins K, C, and A. I also have folate, which is a B vitamin. These vitamins are good for your blood and eyes, and they help prevent illness. I also have an amino acid called asparagine. It cleans out toxins -- bad stuff -- from your body.

Q: I must say, you are one of the most beautiful veggies around. Would you please describe yourself?

Asparagus: I'm always long. Sometimes I'm very thin, sometimes as thick as your finger. I have a spear on top -- that's my most yummy part, I think. I'm usually a deep green, and my spear can be a bit purplish. But sometimes I'm totally white.

Q: White? You're kidding!

Asparagus: It's true. Actually, my white look is more popular in Europe. Did you know in Spain, they put me on sandwiches the same way Americans use lettuce?

Q: I did not know that! Tell me, are you totally edible? Can we eat all of you?

Asparagus: Yes, except for the very bottom of my stalks, which tend to be too tough and chewy. I'm not a veggie you'd want to eat raw, but just a bit of steaming will keep me crunchy and delicious. Please try not to overcook me -- I hate being soft and floppy.

Here's a tip: Top me off with a little butter and a touch of nutmeg. Or try me with a little lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. I'm also really delicious when I'm grilled. Once I'm cooked, I'm delicious hot or cold. Really, I'm the kind of side dish that can steal the show.

Q: So where have you been hiding yourself?

Asparagus: I haven't been hiding at all! You may think I'm in hiding because I'm mostly just in the produce section. And I'm not always there all year. My main appearance is from early spring to early summer.

To see me more often, look for me with the frozen foods. You can also find me canned or jarred on the shelves with the other veggies. But when I'm canned, I'm a lot softer. Some people prefer me that way, but others find me too mushy.