With these asparagus baby food recipes you're providing your little one with an amazing array of nutrients and one of the best vegetable sources of folate around!
NOTE: Please consult your doctor before you introduce these recipes, or any new foods, to your baby. The information given here is for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.
Asparagus is not considered to be a common allergen, although – as with all new foods – you should use the four day rule as you introduce it.
Asparagus contains raffinose, the same substance that’s in beans and which tends to cause gas!
However, asparagus contains less raffinose than beans – consequently, it may cause discomfort in some babies and not others.
Luckily for us, we’ve never noticed a problem with gassiness in our babies after giving them asparagus!
Nevertheless, it’s not a good idea to introduce asparagus as a very first food and it’s best avoided altogether before 6 months of age (please see this page for more information about introducing solids before 6 months).
You can try offering asparagus after your baby is enjoying other fruits and vegetables, from 6 months of age, delaying its introduction until later in baby’s first year if he’s prone to upset tummies and gas (wind).
PLEASE NOTE: Eating asparagus can cause your baby’s pee to smell strange and may even turn it green! This is a perfectly harmless phenomenon that affects adults too, and is caused by the production of certain compounds as the asparagus is digested.
Often referred to as the ‘vegetable of kings’, asparagus is an ancient food, long revered for its wonderful flavour and perceived medicinal properties.
Very high in anti-oxidants, asparagus is also a particularly rich source of folate.
You’ll probably remember being urged to take folic acid supplements (the synthetic form of folate) during pregnancy, because it helps protect against birth defects.
But folate continues to be good for your baby as it promotes heart health and helps the body both produce and maintain new cells.
Asparagus also helps maintain a healthy gut.
This is because it contains inulin, a substance that it is not digested and moves to the large intestine, where it provides food for all the ‘good’ bacteria living there! This helps the ‘good’ bacteria grow and flourish, promoting a healthy digestive system.
What’s more, asparagus – which offers protection against serious conditions like heart disease and cancer – also contains
Whew – who knew those delicious green stalks packed such a nutritious punch?
There’s no getting away from the fact that asparagus tends to be horribly expensive! Growing and harvesting asparagus is both time and labour intensive, hence the cost!
But when buying asparagus for your baby, remind yourself of this…
it’s still an awful lot cheaper than buying jars of pre-prepared baby food… and it’s MUCH healthier for your little one!
Look for bright green asparagus stems – the thinner, the better. It’s also possible to buy white asparagus (which is white because it’s grown underground, so that its green chlorophyll does not develop). However, white asparagus is not as nutritious as green.
If you’re very lucky, you might even come across purple asparagus, which contains lots of anthocyanins, the anti-oxidants that give red and purple grapes their colour. Purple asparagus spears are smaller than green or white ones and have a more robust flavour.
Whichever type you buy, ensure the stalks are nice and firm and the tips are closed.
When you get your asparagus home, wash it well (taking care to remove all the dirt from the woody stems). Then wrap a damp paper towel around the stems – or stand them in a glass in a couple of inches of water – and store them in the fridge for a maximum of two days.
Push them right to the back of the shelf – exposure to light decreases their nutritional value.
You can also use frozen asparagus if you can’t get fresh, but note that frozen asparagus should be cooked straight from the freezer and should not be thawed first.
Alternatively, you can use canned asparagus. Look for a low sodium or salt free variety, but do bear in mind that canned asparagus is rather mushy and texturally disappointing. Whilst it would be OK for purees and veggie combos, it certainly couldn’t be used as a finger food (as we suggest later in this article).
The best way to do this is to blanch it in boiling water for 2 mins, then plunge it into a bowl of icy water to arrest the cooking process.
You can then put it into zip-top bags and store them in the freezer – use them within one month for optimal nutritional value, although they will keep for several months longer.
Simply wash the spears as described above, then bend each one until it naturally snaps at the point where the woody stem ends and the tender stalk begins.
Don’t throw the woody ends away – we use ours to make stock, to which they add a lovely flavour. You can also puree them up and mix with water as a soup base if they are not too tough.
We find that steaming asparagus is the best way to cook it. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the spears – the very thin ones can be ready in as few as 3 minutes, whereas thicker ones can take around 8 minutes before they become tender.
You may also boil asparagus spears in a little water until crisp-tender, but be careful not to overcook them. This will not only deplete their nutrients but will also make them waterlogged and mushy.
An Asparagus Steamer, while not strictly necessary by any means, is a handy tool to have because it cooks the spears upright, allowing you to cook the stems more thoroughly whilst gently steaming the tips.
Asparagus is great served hot or cold. If you want to serve it cold, plunge it into icy water right after cooking it to stop it getting mushy. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Asparagus spears are easily held in little fists, making them a super finger food or ideal for baby led weaning. Cut longer spears in half or your little one might have trouble getting the tips into his mouth.
Why not try…
We hope your baby enjoys these nutritious and delicious asparagus baby food recipes.